Ethanol Blending Current Affairs

CSIR-NIIST develop new technique to produce bioethanol from cotton-stalks

Scientists from CSIR’s National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (CSIR-NIIST), Thiruvananthapuram have developed new technique to produce bioethanol from discarded cotton-stalks. The technique uses combination of chemical and biological techniques.

The new technique will help to produce bioethanol, a clean fuel from cotton stalk wastes. Converting the agro-residues such as cotton stalks and wheat and rice husks etc to ethanol reduces the food vs fuel competition.

India has about 9.4 million hectares under cotton cultivation and every hectare generates 2 million tonnes of cotton stalk wastes.

New Technique

In new technique, cotton stalks first are treated with acid, alkali and different enzymes to breakdown its complex organic polymers. The acid treatment remove hemicellulose, a polymer of cell wall and alkali makes easier to extract lignin, a binding matrix in cell wall, made of complex phenolics.

These treatments exposes cellulose of cotton stalks made of glucose to the action of enzymes. It converts glucose into final product bioethanol by the process of fermentation using a novel yeast strain.

The novel yeast strain used was Saccharomycescerevisiae-RRP-03N, obtained from a rotting wild fruit we found in the Silent Valley National Park, Kerala.

Significance

The Saccharomycescerevisiae-RRP-03N yeast performs better than distiller’s yeast strains commonly used in fermenting the cotton stalk hydrolysate. It has glucose conversion efficiency of 76% and it utilised entire glucose in just 24 hours and converted into alcohol.  The final alcohol obtained after distillation can be made to fuel grade bioethanol (>99% purity).

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India’s first 2G Ethanol Bio-refinery to be set up in Punjab

The foundation stone of India’s first 2G (Second Generation) Ethanol Bio-refinery was laid at Tarkhanwala village in Bathinda, Punjab.

 Central Government Public Sector Undertaking (CPSU) Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) is setting up this project at a cost of 600 crore Rupees.

Key Facts
  • HPCL’s bio-refinery will produce 100 kilolitres of ethanol per day i.e. 3.20 crore litres per annum from agricultural residues.
  • It will be sufficient to meet the 26% of the ethanol blending requirement of Punjab. It will also produce about 30,000 tonnes of bio-fertiliser per annum to enhance soil nutrients.
  • It will also produce more than 1 lakh kilograms of Bio-CNG per annum which can cater to transport and clean cooking requirements.
  • It will generate employment for about 1,200-1,300 persons in the biomass supply chain. It will also generate an additional income of approximately 20 crore Rupees per annum for farmers through purchase of their agriculture residues.
  • The project will also significantly help in reducing CO2 emissions from the paddy straw which currently is being burnt after harvesting.
Background

HPCL and other state-run oil firms are planning to set up 12 2G ethanol bio-refineries across 11 states at an estimated cost of 10,000 crore Rupees. These Bio-refineries will be significantly contributing towards the Ethanol Blending Programme (EBP) for achieving 10% Ethanol Blending in Petrol from current 5% by producing around 35-40 crore litres of ethanol annually. Read more

About 2nd generation ethanol

2nd generation ethanol is a fuel that can be manufactured from various types of biomass. Whereas 1st generation ethanol is made from the sugars and vegetable oils found in arable crops, which can be easily extracted using conventional technology. In comparison, 2nd generation ethanol is made from lignocellulosic biomass or woody crops, agricultural residues or waste, which makes it harder to extract the required fuel using conventional technology.

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