Photo credit: ICRISAT
Newly developed high biomass sorghum. Photo: B Veera Shetty, ICRISAT
NEWLY DEVELOPED HIGH BIOMASS SORGHUM AND PEARL MILLET A BOON TO 2G BIOFUEL PRODUCTION IN INDIA
The advantages of newly developed high biomass sorghum and pearl millet developed by ICRISAT and Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR) for use as feedstock in second generation or lignocellulosic (2G) biofuel production in India was highlighted at a recent workshop.
The advantageous traits of these dryland crops are wider adaptability, fast growth, high biomass production potential, resilience to drought, and non-compromise on food security as the grain is used for human consumption. The use of these crops in biofuel production has the potential of improving incomes of Indian farmers in the semi-arid regions.
India is a signatory to the UN Climate Change Paris Agreement (COP21) and biofuel production is one of the thrust areas identified to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The country’s ethanol production is mainly from sugarcane molasses. However, considering severe water shortages there is limited scope to increase the production of this water-intensive crop. Hence there is a need to develop newer feedstocks along with supply chain mechanisms and optimized biomass processing technologies for establishing commercial 2G biofuel plants. These plants need to have the capacity to produce sufficient ethanol to augment the blending demands of the country. The government’s current goal is to blend 5% of ethanol in gasoline across the country and increase the blending percentage to 10% in the short run and up to 20% in the next five years.
To develop an action plan to address the above issues, 70 participants representing the Government of India, industry and academia cutting across various specializations met at ICRISAT headquarters.
The main objectives of the workshop were –
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