Article Index


Code No:  S064 Price: 1500 Category: Biomass



Executive Summary

The utilization of biomass resources assumes importance due to the soaring crude price and depleting reserves of fossil fuels coupled with the rising environmental concern. Ethanol derived from renewable ligno-cellulosic biomass of non-edible variety has been identified globally as the future solution for meeting the energy demand. Apart from fuel and energy, biomass can also be the source of large number of derivatives.

Ethanol from lignocellulosic biomass is a complex technology; it has been noted that extensive research efforts are underway by industry and academia in making this technology technically and economically viable in near future. Efforts are needed in developing resource databases, evaluation, development of pretreatment technologies, logistics, reactor design, organism development, protein engineering to label a few, and apparently needs a focused centre to lead and coordinate the R&D activities towards achieving success in all the unit operations involved.

In view of the above, TIFAC under its Bioprocess & Bioproducts Programme supported NIIST-Trivandrum to establish a dedicated Centre for Biofuels to carry out advanced research in ligno-cellulosic ethanol production along with the development of other bio-chemicals for improved process economics to address some of the critical technology issues in the sector. NIIST has been in the forefront of biomass derived ethanol research and has been working on cellulase enzyme production, strain improvement of cellulase producers, production of glucose tolerant beta-glucosidases and fermentation process development and hence found to be the ideal contender for setting up the Centre for Biofuels at their premises for exclusive R&D on biofuels especially ethanol from ligno-cellulosic biomass.

For assessing the feasibility and sustainability of producing biofuels and other bio-chemicals from biomass in India, a clear understanding of the current generation of biomass, its consumption and availability patterns of surplus biomass from select agro & forest residues were called for. Further, the storage, transportation and procurement practices of such biomass resources also needed to be understood. It is with this background that TIFAC & NIIST had commissioned the study and availed the services of a consulting agency, IMRB-BIRD, Chennai for the purpose.