IIT Kanpur, NSI Kanpur agree to establish CoE for biofuels

The Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IITK) and the National Sugar Institute, Kanpur (NSI Kanpur) have formalized a partnership by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a Centre of Excellence for Biofuels.

The signing event, held on June 15, 2024, at NSI Kanpur, was attended by notable dignitaries, including Ashwini Srivastava, Joint Secretary (Sugar) from the Department of Food.

Research in the production of biofuel will be the focus. Scientists will work on increasing the yield of ethanol, methanol, bio-CNG, aviation fuel, and even green hydrogen from this renewable energy source derived from biomass.

Uttar Pradesh offers the ideal environment for this biofuel programme as it has been at the forefront of sugarcane production and is a principal agricultural state. The programme would also be aligned with India’s National Bio-fuel Policy, 2018, with an added emphasis on ethanol production from sugarcane and surplus food grains. The policy targets to achieve a 20% ethanol blend in petrol by 2025 following the “waste to wealth” approach through the infusion of sugarcane by-products.

According to IIT Kanpur Director Prof. Manindra Agrawal, “NSI Kanpur brings in experience about market trends and technological needs, while IIT Kanpur has robust expertise in fundamental science and technology. This partnership combines the forces to set up a world-class centre propelling India towards attaining a leadership position in biofuels.”

Ashwini Srivastava, Joint Secretary, Government of India, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Department of Food and Public Distribution, in a statement supporting the initiative, said, “National Biofuel Policy encourages ethanol production from these diverse sugarcane-based feedstocks and surplus grains. This MoU has significantly strengthened our efforts toward reaching the goal of 20% ethanol blending by 2025.”

Drcentre Seema Paroha, Director of NSI Kanpur, took center stage to underline long-term commitment: “We will establish a dedicated building equipped with state-of-the-art laboratory, pilot plants, and all necessary machinery. While the initial funding is from the government, she said, industrial partnerships will be forged in the future.

The Centre of Excellence for Biofuels will be engaged with the development of advanced, sustainable, and high-quality biofuels through innovative technologies, optimized process conditions, and pilot projects. This has immense potential to secure India’s energy supply chain and reduce dependence on fossil fuels and crude oil imports, besides meeting climate change mitigation goals through reduced CO2 emissions.

The signing of the MoU saw dignitaries from both institutes, Jindal and Prof. Debopam Das from IIT Kanpur, and Shri Vinay Kumar, Shri Anoop Kumar Kanaujia, and Dr. R. Ananthalakshmi of NSI Kanpur.

Tags: Biofuels, CO2 Emissions, IIT Kanpur, NSI Kanpur
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