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Report of DBT National Workshop on Bioenergy-2018

The Department of Biotechnology, IIT Roorkee organizes two days DBT National Workshop on Bioenergy during July 6-7, 2018. The objective of the workshop is to bring people of all four centers of bioenergy created by DBT, Govt. of India on a common platform for exchanging of ideas, issues related to commercial success of bioenergy sector in India.In the opening remark Dr. Sangita M. Kasture, Scientist, DBT, Ministries of science and technology, told that DBT started 4 centers on bioenergy, dedicated for translational research. The centers are as follows: DBT-Pan IIT Centre for Bioenergy, DBT-IOC Centre for Advanced Bioenergy Research, Faridabad, DBT-ICGEB Centre for Advanced Bioenergy Research, New Delhi and DBT-ICT Centre for Energy Biosciences, Mumbai. She briefed about the objectives and functionalities of these centers. Prof. M. S. Ananth, Chairman SAC, Former Director, IIT Madras in his message told that DBT-Pan IIT centre has altogether 13 technologies under different stages of development and also it has good number of international publication and patent. Dr. Renu Swarup, Secretary, DBT, Ministries of Science and technology, in her message said that energy bioscience program is one of the key programs of DBT, GOI for sustainable biofuel production. She further highlighted that the DBT-Pan IIT centre for bioenergy is an initiative with five IITs (IIT Bombay, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Guwahati, IIT Jodhpur and IIT Roorkee)  which has all laboratories contributing towards science and technical breakthroughs for developing new generation of sustainable and cost effective technologies for biofuel production.

Dr. Anjan Ray, Director, IIP dehardun stated that carbon engineering is required to harness the usable form of carbon from their unusable form. He stress on the need of indigenous technology development for bioenergy production on urgent basis as India in its mandate (2018) expressed the strong intention of blending of conventional liquid fuel with biofuel. He stressed that India has enough of raw material to achieve this target which will solve many problem simultaneously, like environment, global warming, economy development and energy need of the country in terms of liquid fuel. Shri Rajnath Ram, Joint Advisor, NITI Aayog, stressed on entrepreneur development in the bioenergy sector. He further highlighted that this event will enable industry academia collaboration to exchange their experience and share best practices for development and commercialization of advanced biofuels. He also told that policy on bioenergy, 2018 has been out in which government is targeting to achieve 20% blending of ethanol in gasoline by 2020. Prof. P. Wangikar, coordinator, DBT-Pan IIT center, stressed the immediate requirement of 2G ethanol production and also on futuristic program on microalgal oil based biodiesel production. In a future biorefinery, engineered cyanobacteria may be deployed for the production of biofuels and platform chemicals from CO2 as feedstock which will eventually harness the solar energy. Prof A.M. Lali, Coordinator ICT Mumbai stressed on the biorefinery concept in which he stressed upon production of costly value added products and platform chemicals simultaneously with 2 G ethanol using chemical and biological routes. He also talked on carbon engineering converting waste into renewable fuels and other value added products. Dr. S. K Puri, coordinator DBT-IOC centre also stressed on the need of production of other high value product along with biofuel to make the biofuel industry self sustain. He also talked to gas fermentation for energy production. Dr. Puri also told the young scientists should take up an objective oriented project aiming for commercialization. Dr. Shams Yazdani, coordinator DBT-ICGEB centre talked on enzyme engineering involved in biofuel production and genetic modification of biofuel producing strains and there by requirement of imparting the necessary skill among the scholars for the work.Prof. R. P. Singh Keynote speaker, IIT Roorkee, said in his key note address role of microalgae in biofuel production. He further highlighted that various engineering strategies at gene level can significantly enhance the efficiency of microalgal cell for biofuel production. The other key speakers of the event include Prof. Debabrata Das, IIT Khragpur talk on biohydrogen production, which is the most clean and efficient form of energy. The demo plant is already is functioning at their campus and he stressed upon the commercialization of the same. The conference had eight sessions including techno entrepreneur development session at the last. Total of 31 oral and 44 poster presentations has taken place during these two days program. Professors, scientists, researchers from all four energy centers and all IITs have participated in this two days national event. Since, it was an open platform, people came from all over India ranging from north eastern states like Assam to Maharastra, Delhi, UP, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Haryana etc. Participation also was from Govt of India like Ministry of Science and Technology, Niti Aayog, People have also joined from various industries and entrepreneurs. The workshop will help to increase awareness in the policy makers about the challenges faced by the investors from industry for commercial scale up of advanced bioenergy projects. The ultimate outcome of this national event will be more and more collaboration and cooperation among the scientists and industries for speeding up commercialization of biofuel production through latest and advanced R&D.