IIT Kanpur to conduct R&D on biofuelsIIT Kanpur to conduct R&D on biofuels

Virendra Singh Rawat

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur and the National Sugar Institute (NSI), Kanpur have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a Centre of Excellence (CoE) for biofuels.

The two organisations will conduct cutting-edge research and adopt state-of-the-art technology to enhance biofuel production in India with improved efficiency and sustainability.

Biofuels are expected to play a key role in reducing dependency on fossil fuels and mitigating climate change as well.

The focus area of this collaborative research will take up the study on enhancing the production of ethanol, methanol, bio-CNG, aviation fuel, and green hydrogen etc from biomass, a renewable source of energy.

Uttar Pradesh being an agri-based state and one of the top-ranked states in sugarcane production, will be an ideal place for biofuel research.

This partnership aims to leverage the expertise of both institutions to address the growing energy needs of India while promoting environmental conservation.

Prof Manindra Agrawal, IIT Kanpur Director, said NSI Kanpur has been working in this field for over 60 years, understanding the market dynamics and technological requirements well.

“IIT Kanpur possesses the understanding of fundamental science and technologies in chemical and other related domains. The aim is to combine the strengths of both institutions to create a state-of-the-art center to help India take a leadership position in the area of biofuels,” he added.

The National Bio-fuel Policy 2018 allows the production of ethanol from various sugarcane-based feedstock as well as use of surplus food grains for production of ethanol.

Under Ethanol Blended with Petrol (EBP) Programme, the Centre has fixed the target of 20 percent blending of ethanol with petrol by 2025.

To increase ethanol production, the government has been promoting maize as a major feedstock for production of ethanol. It is also focusing towards ‘Waste to Wealth’ approach by promoting the usage of other by-products of sugarcane.

Dr Seema Paroha, NSI Kanpur Director, said this is a long-term MoU, and a dedicated building with a state-of-the-art laboratory, including all requisite equipment, pilot plants, and instruments, will be established for the CoE at the Institute campus.

“This will initially be funded by the ministry, and moving forward, industrial tie-ups will also be targeted,” she added.

This MoU signifies a way forward in enhancing the production of advanced sustainable high-quality biofuels by developing innovative technologies, optimising existing processes, and establishing pilot projects to demonstrate biofuel technology viability.

This will ultimately contribute to safeguarding the energy supply, protecting the climate by minimizing CO2 emissions, and reducing dependence on fossil fuels/ import of crude oils.

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