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Praj Industries develops technology to produce lignin-based bio-bitumen

By Mary Page Bailey |

Praj Industries Ltd. (Pune, India) has reached a milestone in the development of an innovative technology to produce bio-bitumen based on lignin. Netherlands-based Circular Biobased Delta, one of Europe’s premier consortia to promote bioeconomy, has approved Praj’s Bio-bitumen samples processed from purified lignin as a part of their flagship CHAPLIN program.

Lignin is one of the co-products resulting from 2nd generation ethanol plants, paper making and also from Compressed Bio-Gas plants. Bitumen is a black viscous mixture of hydrocarbons produced by fractionation of crude oil and has wide applications in road construction and roofing as binder.

Praj has now developed a proprietary process (under patenting) to convert the crude lignin into Bio-bitumen which has potential to replace this fossil-based bitumen and offer eco-friendly green bitumen. The binding and viscoelastic property of Bio-bitumen makes it useful for applications in asphalt.

Circular Biobased Delta (CBBD) facilitates cooperation between knowledge centers, public authorities and industry to grow usage of biomass as a raw material in the chemical, construction and packaging industries. Under its flagship program CHAPLIN, it aims at stimulating the development and commercialization of Bio-bitumen as binder for use in asphalt so as to improve the greening approach in road construction while reducing CO2 intensity.

Praj had provided Bio-bitumen samples processed from Rice and Wheat Straw as feedstock in their 2G Biorefinery Demo plant in India to CBBD for testing and evaluation.  After thorough evaluation and studies in their advanced laboratories, CBBD has approved Praj’s Bio-bitumen sample for scale up in Asphalt on a Dutch test strip on the road.

Dr. Pramod Chaudhari, Founder Chairman of Praj said, “We are delighted to receive certificate of approval from Circular Biobased Delta for Bio-bitumen samples produced by deploying our proprietary process technology. We understand that Praj is the first Asian company to have developed Bio-bitumen that has the potential to partially replace bitumen from fossil resources. Bio-bitumen is poised to play a significant role as road construction material while curbing CO2emissions and boosting Bioeconomy. This reaffirms our strong belief in innovation and technology leadership in the industrial biotech space globally.”

Speaking on this landmark development, Dr. Ir. Willem L. Sederel, Chairman of Circular Biobased Delta said, “We are very positive about the results of Praj’s Bio-bitumen samples based on our lab trials. We have now requested Praj to provide larger quantity of samples for constructing a road strip for test in the Netherlands. We firmly believe increasing value for lignin derived Bio-bitumen will allow improving the biobased business and stimulate economic activities such as processing of agri residues & its applications, biorefineries, and Bio-bitumen.”

Following successful testing of pilot road strip in the Netherlands, usage of bio-bitumen as a green construction material will open up a new chapter of huge applications potential in bioeconomy. 


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