Global trading and investment company Mitsui & Co has announced that it would invest ₹300 million (~$4.04 million) in Punjab Renewable Energy Systems Private Limited (PRESPL), an Indian biomass-based energy company.
Mitsui noted that the investment is aligned with its goal to create a more sustainable society while furthering the expansion of its bioenergy business in India and around the world.
Promoted by the Bermaco Group, the company supplies loose biomass and biomass briquettes to biomass-based power plants and the process industry with captive power plants.
PRESPL hopes to expand its footprint and accelerate business growth in India and overseas with the funding received.
“We look forward to working together with PRESPL to grow its business by combining our respective areas of expertise and leveraging synergies with Mitsui’s diverse business portfolio. The growth of PRESPL will significantly reduce air pollution and carbon emissions in India by effectively using agricultural residues as a fuel stock for the bio-energy industry and providing a more sustainable alternative to fossil fuels.,” said Masaharu Okubo, Country Chairperson of Mitsui & Co.
Commenting on the investment, Monish Ahuja, Chairman & Managing Director, PRESPL, said, “In partnership with Mitsui, we aim to make a meaningful contribution to tackling climate change through the better utilization of biomass agri-waste for bioenergy.”
responsAbility was the first to invest in the company’s Series-A funding in September 2013, followed by a Series-B investment of $5 million from Neev Fund in April 2019. In March 2019, Mercom reported that PRESPL was targeting to raise up to $10 million in Series B funding. PRESPL raised private equity investment of ₹360 million (~$5 million) from Shell in September 2019. With the follow-on fund investment by Shell, the Series B round of PRESPL was fully subscribed and closed.
The practice of stubble burning and other agricultural residues after harvest is a leading cause of air pollution in India. The government has introduced numerous policies to promote the constructive utilization of agricultural residues as a primary and supplementary fuel stock for the bio-energy industry to tackle the crisis. These policies are expected to contribute to the continued expansion of the bio-energy industry in the country.
In May this year, the Ministry of Power had decided to set up a national mission to use biomass in coal-powered thermal power plants. The proposed national mission on biomass will also contribute to the National Clean Air Program. The initiative has been undertaken with multiple objectives. One of the objectives is to increase co-firing from 5% to higher levels. This is aimed at having a larger share of carbon-neutral power generation from the thermal power plants. Last year, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy had extended the validity of its biomass-based cogeneration program. The program was extended until March 31, 2021, or until the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission come into effect, whichever appears first. The program was earlier set to end in March 2020.
Arjun Joshi is a staff reporter at Mercom India. Before joining Mercom, he worked as a technical writer for enterprise resource software companies based in India and abroad. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism, Psychology, and Optional English from Garden City University, Bangalore. More articles from Arjun Joshi.