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Fiber from paddy straw: Fortum signs a MoU with CCS Haryana Agricultural University, India

17 September 2019, 16:35 EEST

Paddy straw is valuable biomass

Fortum has taken another step towards building options for significant new businesses that improve resource efficiency and reduce the use of fossil raw materials and ingredients in a variety of industries.

Fortum signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in order to research paddy and paddy straw together with one of India’s leading universities, Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University. The goal of the cooperation is to produce straw-based textile fiber, as well as other valuable chemicals and materials used in the food, cosmetics and construction industries, among other things. The longer term aim is to establish a biorefinery using paddy straw as raw material.

In three states in the Delhi region, including Haryana, 50 million tonnes of agrobiomass are burned every year. Burning the rice crop residues in fields emits greenhouse gas and causes huge damage to the environment.

The University is constantly working towards managing paddy straw and as the first step, the new partnership aims to increase understanding of the properties of rice straw and other agri-biomass, as well as its availability, socio-economic impact, possible supply chain and other related matters in Haryana. The intention is to convert this agricultural waste into valuable products and at the same time, reduce pollution. This will also help local communities to become self-sufficient and raise their standard of living.

Aiming to build bio-based ecosystems in key locations across the globe, Fortum has already started the work towards producing sustainable textile fibres from hardwood and wheat straw together with other cooperation partners. Different raw materials are tested based on their geographical availability and technical suitability for various fibre technologies and applications, such as textiles and non-wovens.

In addition, Fortum has established a joint venture with Numaligarh Refinery Limited and a biorefining technology company Chempolis for building and operating a biorefinery in Assam, India, to produce  bioethanol, furfural, acetic acid and electricity from bamboo. The construction is expected to be completed in 2021.

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CCS Haryana Agricultural University

Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar is a State University popularly known as “HAU” established under Haryana and Punjab Agricultural Universities Act, 1970. The university publishes the largest number of research papers among agricultural universities in India. It won the Indian Council of Agricultural Research's Award for the Best Institute in 1997 and in 2017. It contributed significantly to Green Revolution and White Revolution in India.