L&T is making a mark on the world’s first bio-refinery to produce ethanol from bamboo
E20 is a 20:80 ethanol-petrol blend fuel. The ethanol is produced at a bio-refinery. Earlier this year, the Finnish energy companies Chempolis and Fortum, and the state-owned Indian oil company Numaligarh Refinery Ltd formed a joint venture – the Assam Bio Refinery Private Ltd (ABRPL) – to set up a pioneering bio-refinery in Assam.
L&T Special Fabrication has been selected for supplying critical titanium spools for this upcoming bio-refinery – which will be the world’s first bio-refinery producing cellulosic ethanol and bio-based chemicals from bamboo. L&T’s scope includes supply of 40,000-inch dia. of Gr.2 and Gr.12 titanium spools.
Titanium has unique characteristics – high strength, low weight (45% steel) and resistance to extreme corrosive and creep conditions up to 600°C. These properties make it ideal for use in bio-refineries.
Welding titanium requires specialised knowledge and techniques due to its reactive nature and the formation of brittle intermetallic during welding. Also, in this case, ABRPL set a stringent requirement for bright silver weld only.
For L&T Special Fabrication, the order necessitated overcoming several challenges. Capability had to be built in terms of a clean room/dust-free enclosure (DFE) for welding and in-house skill enhancement, obtaining procedure qualifications, getting welders and welding operators qualified, and reducing cycle time.
Overcoming the challenges within a compressed schedule was a tough task – but the dedicated team put its collective shoulder to the proverbial wheel and surmounted every obstacle.
A 450m² clean room/DFE facility meeting all requirements was set up within a record three weeks. In-situ cutting and weld edge preparation (1-20 inches) reduced material handling and iron contamination for titanium pipes.
Over 25 welders and welding operators were trained and qualified through a robust training module for titanium Gas Tungsten Arc Welding. Clamp fit-up of butt weld joints was successfully implemented. Processes were put in place to prevent contamination of dust and iron particles to achieve bright silver colour.
L&T is proud of its contribution to India’s energy independence mission and the global biofuel initiative.