Embracing A Bio-Economy- The Way Forward for India!

Praj Hipurity | December 31, 2019

Our dependence on fossil fuels is creating a world-wide turmoil in regards to the sustainability of the human race. Fossils are the primary source of bi-products, energy and resources, and this is having a detrimental effect on our planet. As a result, we are witnessing major geo-political issues and energy security concerns due to the scarcity of our finite resources. India is a leading consumer of fossil fuels due to its population size. We as humans need to acknowledge the worry-some issue that our way of life revolves primarily around the exploitation of fossil fuels. We need to strongly adopt the idea of relying on an alternate source for our resources and energy. This is the need of the hour and this is the way forward for the Indian economy.

Bioenergy- The worthy successor to our fossil fuels

Bioenergy has proven to be one of the most sustainable and feasible ways of producing energy and bi-products for use. It is truly worthy of being our primary source of energy in today’s time. Bioenergy production involves the conversion of natural biomass or biological resources into useful resources like energy, food etc., by the means of biotechnology in a Bioenergy plant. Biotechnology entails the use of living organisms and organic material available in abundance in our environment. Over the years, biotech has progressed by leaps and bounds, giving us a perfectly reliable and sustainable method to implement bioenergy as the alternative.

Bio-refineries- How will it help?

The bio-refinery concept is an intelligent and promising solution that integrates different biomass conversion processes and technologies. The bio-refinery approach is based on a holistic utilisation of biomass for producing value-added products. For ex. Bioethanol Plant. Thus, bio-refineries aim for zero-waste biomass utilisation by applying efficient technologies to convert biomass into energy and products.

Speaking of products, biotech can enable the production of a plethora of bio-products. To understand its feasibility and scale, let’s see what kind of products and raw materials we will be dealing with.

Raw materials typically used for bio-products

  1. Sugary; molasses and beet
  2. Starchy- potato, cassava
  3. Biomass- Agricultural waste such as bagasse, rice stalk etc.
  4. Microbial- such as algae
  5. Wood (forestry materials)

This shows how easy it will be to procure raw materials for the processes. But to become a truly diverse bio-economy, bio-products should not be restricted to one industrial sector. And that’s the best part about the use of biomass… there are numerous resources that can be produced for a broad spectrum of applications and markets.

Here are some examples of bio-products as per their industry applications

  1. Bio-lubricants – Automotive Industry
  2. Bio-polymers- Packaging Industry
  3. DDGS production (by-product of Bioethanol production)- Liquor Industry
  4. Bio-composites- Manufacturing Industry
  5. Wood & Construction Material- Furniture Industry

This clearly depicts the potential of bio-based products to cater to a diverse range of industries and be a viable alternative to fossil fuels.

Transforming India into a Bio-economy

The use of multiple feedstock to produce a diverse range of bio-products has created a golden opportunity to revive the Indian economy, as India stands as one of the leading producers of biomass energy.  Around 18 GW of energy produced in India comes from biomass. This is an opportunity to reconcile with our environment and secure a sustainable and profitable future for the Indian economy. A simple change in the mind-set will foster an evergreen future across all industries and domains. To implement this effectively, it needs to be done at a fundamental level. People to need to naturally absorb the idea of embracing a Bio-economy. It needs to become an integral part of the Indian Society. So, ushering a bio-economy in India means working closely with India’s existing environmental protection initiatives and developmental programs launched by the Government.

Here are some of the flagship programs that are currently running;

  1. Make in India
  2. Swachh Bharat
  3. Doubling farmer’s income
  4. Energy security and self-reliance- reduce the import bill

Along with the programs, the idea of Bio-economy needs to have a deep-rooted foundation in the political environment as well. The idea needs to flourish at the policy-making level. That means taking extra measures to help the development and advancement of biotech in India.

Here are some steps that can be taken to aid the development of biotech in India

  1. Forming policies for biofuel- Expediting project realization for 2G, CBC and Biodiesel
  2. Supporting rural development- Creating job opportunities, alternate revenue streams from farming.
  3. Presenting innovative ideas or solutions to bring bio-products in the market.
  4. Working towards building more affordable technologies for mass adoption.

Bio-industry is all set to boom in the coming years. The question is, will we acknowledge its upside and help the Indian economy grow before it’s too late? The solution to our environmental crisis is right in front of us, and corporations have a huge opportunity to make name for themselves in the Bio era.

Praj industries is a major manufacturer of Bio-products in India with over 30 years of industry expertise.

From pioneering Bioethanol production technology to mastering Zero Liquid Discharge systems, Praj industries offer a plethora of high-tech engineering solutions. Apart from Bio-products, they offer a wide range of industrial wastewater treatment solutions like scrubbing, evaporation and crystallization, that are highly customized and match international standards of quality and output.

Visit the website www.praj.net to learn more.