Energy security is an issue of sovereignty. With the country’s oil import bill currently standing at Rs 726,386 crore (US $117 billion), and with oil prices being subject to global oil politics, alternatives are a must. This essentially means second generation biofuels.
The experiment with first generation biofuels has opened the debate of fuel versus food, because first generation biofuels are made from sugars derived from food crops, such as such as sugar cane, corn, wheat, and sugar beet. Thus, food security could be jeopardized in search of energy security using such fuels.
Second generation biofuels are made from food crop residues or industrial wastes as well as from non-food crops, which do not compete with food or fodder, The Department of Biotechnology – keeping the above in mind – has drawn up the Bioenergy Road Map: Vision 2020.
The vision statement says: “No commercially viable second generation biofuel technology is currently available. The national need demands a paradigm shift from reactive to proactive technologies.”
- 20 per cent blending of fossil fuel by 2020
- Commercially viable lignocellulosic ethanol produced from agricultural and forestry waste
- An economically cost efficient system for algal biofuel production
- Next generation biofuels from different biomass feedstock
The achievement of these targets depends on promoting innovation by creating through Centres of Excellence and Network Programmes. Number of R&D projects of cutting edge research has already been initiated by the DBT. DBT has established a network of more than 70 universities, research institutes and industries in close partnerships, which are working to realise the goals set in the National Biofuel Mission.
- Technologies for bioethanol and biodiesel ready for demonstration
- Bio-butanol production technology has tested at 30 L
- Bio-hydrogen by dark fermentation has been optimised at 1000 ltres with further improvement in progress
- Promising accessions of Jatropha Curcus have been identified based on the field performance data of Multi location trials
- Potential algal strains have been selected from Algal Network program to take forward for biomass cultivation
- Three “Bioenergy Canters” have been set up in the country, specifically to strengthen India’s research base and to promote the translation of processes and technologies from research to scale up and commercialisation
- Indo-US Joint Clean Energy R&D Centre (JCERDC) was awarded to consortium for second generation biofuels under the Joint initiative from Planning Commission, Govt. of India & DOE, US.
- More than 8 Indian Post Docs from abroad are availing Energy Bioscience Overseas Fellowship. Chair Position is available for Senior Scientists knowledge sharing in related fields.
Our areas of focus so far include…
Dr. Renu Swarup
Scientist `H’/ Sr. Adviser
Scientist ‘D’ / Principal Scientific Officer