Staff at Velan in India are as pleased as punch to have successfully completed an order for six digestor capping valves for India’s first bio-refinery. Slated for completion in August 2022, the 2nd generation biomass plant (bio-refinery) at Numaligarh, Assam, will produce ethanol from non-food grade feed stock bamboo.
By David Sear
The plant is understood to have a capacity to process 300 TMTPA of bamboo (dry basis) and produce 49 TMTPA of ethanol along with associated chemicals and power. The bio-refinery project aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce crude oil im-port dependency and achieve forex savings, pro-vide remunerative income to farmers, and create employment opportunities by way of engagement of local population in the region.
Commenting, Velan’s Mr. Shankar Shome (Director Sales) states: “we are all very proud to be playing a big part in providing a valve that is ‘Made in India’ for a severe service application, and also very excited to be part of an end use that will support climate change in a small way.”
Providing additional details about the order, Mr. Shome indicates that six, 24” fully automated ball valves were required. “One especially interesting aspect that springs to mind concerns the material of construction. Normally, digestor capping valves are made of stainless steel, but in this particular case titanium was the preferred choice given the highly corrosive process conditions. Fortunately we could readily procure the required castings via well-known foundries on Velan Inc.’s approved vendor list.”
The titanium castings were subsequently delivered to Velan’s facility in Coimbatore, India, for machining and further assembly.
260 minute cycle
Asked about the function of the digestors, Mr. Shome explains that large vessels are used in the fractionation process to convert non-food biomass to bio gas. “A capping valve is mounted at the top of each vessel and is designed to open during the biomass filling process and close during the fractionation process. In this case it is bamboo chips. These particular valves will, I understand, be cycled every 260 minutes.”
In passing, Mr. Shome also notes that Velan will be involved in the installation and commissioning processes.
The six digestor capping valves required special features, continues Mr. Shome. “These are non-standard valves with specific automation and locking arrangements to suit the needs of the demanding application. We sourced the actuators from Emerson, fitted them ourselves, and provide a warranty for the entire product to the customer.”
The project took 38 weeks to complete, notes Mr. Shome. “The job was placed with us by the bio-refinery itself. Considering the entire order was received and executed during the pandemic, I would say this is a testimony to the successful collaboration of all stake holders.”
With the order finalized, Mr. Shome pays tribute to many other parties who played an important role in its successful completion. “I would like to recognize our colleagues in Montreal who supported this project at every step right from engineering to testing. The end result is a testimony of the success that comes through teamwork, collaboration and knowledge sharing. My thanks also to the supply chain that supported us in spite of the many challenges caused by the pandemic. And last but by no means least, my sincere appreciation to the customer, Assam Bio Refinery Private Limited, who had confidence in our ability to deliver quality that lasts.”
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