IIT Kharagpur develops new tech to make cheaper, pollution-free biofuel
This soil-to-soil manufacturing technology of biofuel was developed at the P K Sinha Centre for bio-energy at IIT Kharagpur
Researchers at IIT Kharagpur have developed a new technology which will change the way biofuel is manufactured by making the process cheaper, quicker and pollution-free.
Professor of Department of Agricultural and Food Engineering, Dr Rintu Banerjee on 31 May 2017 said, the technique will ensure relatively quicker production of bio-fuel and the process is completely green.
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She said that the technology can change the future of bio-fuel manufacturing in India and make it more cost effective. Dr Banerjee also said the technology is ready for industry use. Spokesperson of IIT Kharagpur today said the 'soil-to-soil' manufacturing technology developed for bio-energy is in the process of being patented.
Dr Rintu Banerjee said "2g bioethanol can be produced from various naturally available lignocellulosic components. But to do so it needs to be treated chemically. Because of chemical treatment, the process contributes to polluting the environment". Lignocellulose refers to plant dry matter (biomass).
Process of creation
Under the process, the team replaced the chemical treatment with enzymes which degrade the lignin specifically thereby making the manufacturing pollution free. Lignin is a complex organic polymer deposited in the cell walls of many plants, making them woody.
Explaining how the technology would work, she said, "Unlike the chemical treatment here the waste product is pollution-free and hence utilising the residual biomass to organic fertiliser is possible."
She said, "It is soil-to-soil technology, an integrated process where we are using natural resources to extract gaseous and liquid biofuel and then converting the wastes into biofertilizer". She also claimed that "It is a unique integrated approach which we have developed in our lab".
Banerjee said, "The technique that we are suggesting will ensure relatively quicker production of bio-fuel and that the process is completely green thereby not creating any secondary pollution. This, we feel can change the future of bio fuel manufacturing in India and make it more cost effective”.
The green leafy part of corn and sugarcane plants, the waste part of paddy straw, bamboo, banana plant, pineapple and cotton plants, kans grass (kassh phool), castor plant and even non-edible weeds that grow in dry and waste land and a mix of all has been used by IIT-KGP to produce bio fuel.
The project is funded by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Department of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Human Resource Development. The ‘National Policy on bio-fuel’ had set the target at 20 per cent blending of biofuel with petrol by 2017.
With the government expecting bio-fuel business in India to touch Rs 50000 crore by 2022 this new green technology with lesser manufacturing cost and time can become a game changer.