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Humankind Group, LT Foods to develop biomass plants in India

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LT Foods, a 70-year-old global food company has partnered with Humankind Group USA (HKG) to develop commercial-scale biomass plants in India.

The two companies will seek to develop biomass facilities that recycle rice paddy straw into green energy and bio-fertiliser in India under its Environment Sustainability Programme.

Air pollution in India is among the highest in the world. The traditional burning of rice straw is a huge contributor, but the rice straw waste itself is valuable as it can be recycled into green energy.

The Biomass India Partnership is a new initiative seeking to become the leading Indian forum for biomass ‘upcycling’. It is facilitating the development of programmes to eliminate the practice of burning agriculture and contribute to creating a waste-to-value ecosystem for sustainable products.

Technology for the proposed biomass plants has been tested in the province of Punjab, where a biomass plant has been successfully operating since 2018. After demonstrating the success of the first two plants, HKG is planning to help scale up the number of plants to 130 facilities in India over the next decade in collaboration with Biomass India.

“LT Foods focuses on best business practices and processes for environment, social, and economic sustainability,” said V K Arora, chairman of LT Foods. “This proposed project aligns well with LT Foods’s ongoing farmer engagement and environment programmes along with its sustainability initiatives.”

The Dutch Fund for Climate and Development (DFCD) has approved a €350,000 grant for HKG as part of a €1.5 million development package to prepare for the construction of two biomass plants in India. The project has been put forward by the WWF for Nature Netherlands, which manages, together with SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, the DFCD’s Organisation Facility to develop new projects for the investment fund. Once the development phase is completed, the DFCD is expected to invest around €20 million in debt and equity to finance the building of the two biomass plants.

President of HKG, Ken Hollen, commented: “HKG believes the programme it is developing in collaboration with LT Foods, DFCD and other participants has the potential to contribute importantly to the development of a new industry in India that will enable the country to use its agricultural resources towards a more sustainable future, large-scale reduction in CO2 emissions, and other important development impacts.”