by Gunjan Mukherjee* (Advanced Biofuels USA) Working on Education and Outreach for Advanced Biofuels USA, I, as Professor of Biotechnology at Chandigarh University, conducted a few seminar lectures where the activities of Advanced Biofuels USA were presented and discussed with senior faculty members and students. The talk was titled Advanced Biofuels: A truly Sustainable Renewable Future.
Discussions on the future of biofuels and the role of Advanced Biofuels USA also took place during the International Conference (International Conference on Microbial Biotechnology MICROCON 2017, organized by Department of Microbial Biotechnology, P L Anand Auditorium, February 16-17, 2017) with senior Professor, Dr Rupinder Tewari, Department of Microbial Biotechnology, Panjab University, India. During National Symposium (February 16, 2017) on Microbial Approaches for Industrial Processes and Therapeutics (Organized by Department of Microbiology, Panjab University, India) the role of Advanced Biofuels USA was also discussed. In May 2017 I have called for a talk/seminar on biofuel research on behalf of Education and Outreach, Advanced Biofuel USA.
Invited to speak at the 5th
World Bioenergy Congress (June 29-30, 2017) at Madrid, Spain I will present “Pretreatment strategies for hydrolysis of Lignocellulosic biomass: Potential challenges and future perspective for Biorefineries”
The outcome of the lectures was very impressive. The audience, mainly the students, showed their interest in biofuel and asked many questions. Highlights of few questions were as follows.
- The very basic question was asked by most of the students about the role of Advanced Biofuels USA in the biofuel sector.
- What is the future of biofuel in India?
- Is there any possibility to be part of Advanced Biofuels USA?
- The policies of biofuels in India were also discussed. In India still today gasoline is not replaced or partially mixed with bioethanol for transport fuel.
Biofuel policies of India were also discussed. As a member of TERI-The Energy and Resources Institute we looked into the biofuel policies in India.
Brief Overview of Biofuel Policy in India:
In September 2002, the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas (MoPNG), Government of India, announced that making 5 per cent blending of ethanol with petrol by the oil marketing companies (OMCs) was ‘mandatory’ in nine Indian states and four union territories taking effect from January 2003, through the ‘Ethanol Blending Programme’ (EBP). For the Development of Biofuels a committee was constituted in July 2002 by the Planning Commission and the final report was released in July 2003. The report recommended India to progressively move towards the use of biofuels. With regard to ethanol, the report called for further strengthening of the ongoing EBP. In India, ethanol is predominantly produced from Sugarcane molasses.
Promotion of Biofuel in India: A brief overview
India is the world’s fourth largest energy consumer and consumer of crude and petroleum products after the United States, China, and Japan. The total oil import dependency of India rose from 43 per cent (1990) to 71 per cent (2012).
The transport sector accounts for the largest share (around 51 per cent) in terms of consumption of petroleum products in India. Nearly 70 per cent of diesel and 99.6 per cent petroleum are consumed by the transport sector and the demand is expected to grow at 6–8 per cent over the coming years in tandem with rapidly expanding vehicle ownership.
Energy security in India will remain vulnerable until alternative fuels based on indigenously produced renewable feedstock are developed to substitute for petro-based fuels (Government of India, 2008). A number of alternative energy options coupled with various initiatives towards energy efficiency improvements and energy conservation are being promoted in India to deal with an impending crisis. For the transport sector in India preferred options among the renewable energy alternatives that are available include, biofuels, especially ethanol and biodiesel.
The main objective is to reduce dependence on imported crude oil in order to enhance the country’s energy security. The other reasons behind promotion of biofuels in India include climate change mitigation through reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emission, environmentally sustainable development, and generation of new employment opportunities (Government of India, 2008).
*Prof (Dr.) Gunjan Mukherjee is internationally recognized in the field of microbial fermentation/bioprocess, biofuel research and Reactor designing having Interdisciplinary research experience and a proven track record of bringing bench scale research to commercialization. His experience includes present day front-line research in fermentation, scale-up of Industrially important value added products development from microbes. Dr. Mukherjee’s achievement is culminated in his international Patents and various research publications including US Patent on Biomass to biofuel production. His ability to work in interdisciplinary research surroundings is evident from the fact that he worked both in various research institutes and industries. He is also participated in setting up 3 international quality R&D research facilities. Dr. Mukherjee is in the capacity of Editor, Associate Editor, and honorary member of editorial boards of various National and International indexed journals of repute with honors and awards from various scientific bodies and technical committee members of various international organizations. He is associated with Advanced Biofuels USA in Education and Outreach activities and holding regular position as Professor at Biotechnology, Chandigarh University, Punjab, India. E.mail: GunjanMukherjee@gmail.com