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Upcoming Alternatives : Bio-fuels. Alok Adholeya Director, Biotechnology and Management of Bioresources Division, The Energy and Resources Institute, New Delhi. Why biofuels?. Country's dependence on crude import impact on fuel price stability.

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Upcoming alternatives bio fuels
Upcoming Alternatives : Bio-fuels

Alok AdholeyaDirector, Biotechnology and Management of Bioresources Division, The Energy and Resources Institute, New Delhi


Why biofuels?

Country's dependence on crude import

impact on fuel price stability.

It is renewable and does not contribute to global warming due to its closed carbon cycle.

Carbon in the fuel was originally removed from the air by plants so there is no net increase in carbon dioxide levels.

It provides a market for non-edible oil and excess production of vegetable oils & animal fats.

Better opportunity cost.

Significant carbon emission reduction

Faster GDP growth, Lower Imports, energy prices & geopolitical sensitivities

Source: Biofuels Program, Central Carolina Community College, Pittsboro, NC


Biofuels: Why now?

Rising energy demand & prices

Biofuels can secure energy supply

Rising threat of climate change

Biofuels can decrease GHG emissions

Source: Joachim von Braun, 2007. International Food Policy Research Institute, Melbourne


Technology Improvements needs

  • Bioengineering

    • Enzymes

    • Plant engineering

  • Process & Process Yields

    • Process Cost

    • Pre-treatment

    • Co-production of chemicals

    • Process Yield gals/ ton

    • Consolidated bioprocessing

    • Energy crops

      • Jatropha

      • Pongamia

      • Castor

      • Sweet Sorghum

      • Microalgae

    • Miscanthus

    • Switch grass

    • Poplar

    • Willow

    • “Out of the Box”

      • Synthetic Biology

      • Nanotechnology

      • Thermochemical

    Source: Vinod Khosla, 2006. www. khoslaventures.com


    Future Alternative Diesel Fuels

    Source: Rudy Smaling, 2007. HRAC


    Next Generation Biofuel

    Source: Luc Werring, 2006. European Commission, DG Energy and Transport


    Next Generation Biofuel

    Source: Luc Werring, 2006. European Commission, DG Energy and Transport




    Technological gaps

    • Limitations of open pond / raceway concept

    • Light penetration

    • surface area

    • water evaporation

    • process

    • temperature control (seasonal changes)

    • contamination from other airborne algae

    Source: Doug Frater, 2007. Global Green Solutions Inc.


    Technological gaps
    Technological gaps

    • Potential bioreactor growing designs deemed to expensive

    • High harvesting and extraction costs

    • economics of product yield per capital cost

    • Robustness requirement

    • laboratory R&D system to an industrial continuous large scale operating production facility

    • Complex and time consuming algae analysis


    Sustainable technology in jatropha nursery
    Sustainable technology in Jatropha nursery

    • A 8000 Ha. Jatropha plantation (20 Million plants) consumes 21840 Gcal if conventional fertilizer is applied

    • Now for the same plantation 4000 Million mycorrhiza propagules were applied leading to a saving of 21.8 Million Rs (US$ 0.52 Million)



    Corn cultivation in USA

    Area covered: 28.7 M ha

    Fertilizer dose

    168 Kg N, 57 Kg P2O5, 135 Kg K2O and 30 Kg Zn.

    Energy requirement:

    30.4 GJ/t Urea, 30 GJ/t P and 10 GJ/t K

    10.4 MT Urea = 316 M GJ; 1.6 MT P = 48 M GJ; 3.9 MT K = 39 M GJ

    Total: 403 M GJ

    If the fertilizer demand is brought down by 25% this will save ~100 M GJ energy per annum from corn cultivation.

    And reduce environmental footprint as well




    Giovanni Riva, 2006. EUROPEAN CONFERENCE on BIOREFINERY RESEARCH


    Way forward
    Way forward

    • Country specific agenda for technology and feedstock selection

    • Appropriate policy instruments to minimize food vs fuel conflicts and encourage public private partnership

    • Bottom up approach to achieve inclusive growth in growing economies



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