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Mission Mode Programme on Biofuels and Bioenergy

The Department of Biotechnology has launched a mission programme on biofuel from biomass. The thrust is on developing ethanol using Lignocellulosic waste as a raw material, identifying recombinant microbial strains for enhanced ethanol recovery, producing high quality raw material for biodiesel production and developing enzymatic transesterification process for conversion of oil to Biodiesel. Under a micro-mission on production of quality planting material of Jatropha curcas, for the first time a systematic scientific survey, characterization and collection of superior accessions from across the country has been taken up. More than 100 accessions have been collected and characterized. Nurseries have been established at 12 locations to provide quality planting material.

Programme has also been initiated on using Lignocellulosic materials as they are cheap renewable resources, available in large quantities in our country and would sustain the supply of raw material for ethanol production. The economic viability of the process depends on efficient conversion of cellulose and hemicellulose to soluble sugars, which can be achieved by bringing down the cost of existing enzyme production by 2.0 fold. Under the Bioethanol programme, recombinant microorganisms have been identified, which are thermo tolerant and help in enhanced ethanol recovery, enzymatic pretreatment processes for Lignocellulosic degradation are also going on. Efforts are continuing for scale-up of these technologies to make them commercially viable.

Under micro-mission programme more than 1000 superior accessions of Jatropha have been identified and 820 samples have been analysed for oil content and free fatty acids. Besides, germplasm characterization has also been taken up and 48 accessions have been analysed so far.

Source: National Portal Content Management Team, Reviewed on: 09-02-2011