Government of India has been continuously encouraging the production of second-generation (2G) ethanol from biomass and other Agri-wastes. In this context, setting up of 2G bio-refineries will help reduce crop burning by converting agricultural residues to ethanol. This will help in reducing pollution and ensure a cleaner environment. This will also boost the rural economy, create new jobs and provide additional income to farmers.
Keeping in view the above, Assistant Professor Dr Rohit Rai, in the Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences at Lovely Professional University, was selected as Young Scientist by Indian Government’s Department of Science and Technology (DST). Dr Rai was selected in a 20-member delegation that represented India in a scientific conclave among BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries held in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), South America. Dr. Rohit led India on the front of ‘Bio-economy’ and delivered a valuable talk on developing second-generation (2G) ethanol as long term two-way sustainable solutions for (i) rapidly depleting crude oil reserves, and (ii) increased poisonous ‘smog’ hazard.
At the international platform, he tried to provide inputs for breaking one of the major bottlenecks in 2G ethanol bio-refineries. Technically speaking, it is enzymatic degradation of agro-residues like much in news, ‘PARALI’. He shared unconventional indigenous approaches designed by him for bio-prospecting novel microbial sources. He further showcased the roadmap to formulate in-house enzyme cocktails for efficient conversion of agro-residues into fermentable sugars, in a very cost-efficient manner. His work and innovative ideas were highly applauded by the delegates from other counterparts of the BRICS community.
Through this global conclave, Dr Rohit has established new links at Scientists’ as well as Ministerial level in all of the BRICS countries that could be very beneficial in making future collaborations with these countries. It is indeed a prodigious way to combat climate change by lowering the amount of CO2 emitted to the atmosphere. In fact, ‘Ethanol’ is a biofuel, and therefore emits less CO2. The rapid depletion of coal, gas and crude oil reservoirs has enforced the study of alternative fuel such types are biofuels, bioethanol. Ethanol can be used as a pure fuel or blended with gasoline used for vehicles.
Illustrative, Ethanol is a domestically produced alternative fuel most commonly made from corn, agricultural waste and cellulosic fibres such as crops, wood, etc. Producing Ethanol from molasses using fermentation process is not new, but some areas are to be researched to increase fully awareness. In India, Bioethanol production has picked up pace in recent times. Ethanol is viewed potentially as an alternative to fossil fuels. But currently, Ethanol cannot be entirely used to power vehicles and is instead added to petrol in a limited amount. The process of adding ethanol to petrol is called blending.