IIT Biofuel research- IITM inks pact with ExxonMobil
The 5-year agreement is focused on data analytics, gas conversion, and also on transport, and it is aimed towards finding low-emission solutions. And one of the projects being taken up is for developing some novel approaches to convert agro-residue biomass to sugars & high-value chemicals.
Dr. R. Vinu, who is an Associate professor of the Department of Chemical Engineering, who is leading the project at IITM, said that the objectives of this research program are 3-fold. The team aims to effectively deconstruct rice straw, bagasse & other biomass varieties of Indian origin to produce sugars, which will directly feed into Exxon Mobil’s bioconversion platform. They also intend to convert the lignin present in biomass to valuable phenols using novel catalysts. They also aim to evaluate the environmental & economic implications of performing such conversions at scale.
The current trend is to develop fuels & fine chemicals from non-food lignocellulosic biomass and also from agricultural residues, known as second-generation biomass. The lignocellulosic biomass is the only source of renewable carbon with the ability to maintain carbon neutrality in the environment by reducing the net greenhouse gas emissions.
India is the 3rd highest producer of agro-residues globally with the surplus potential of over 230 million tons annually, after China & Brazil. The biofuel potential is expected to get realized in the near future with the new biofuel policy of the government.
Dr. Vijay Swarup, a senior official of ExxonMobil, said that this agreement expands their commitment to research at the university level. ExxonMobil work with over 80 universities around the world. This pact gives them a position in the Indian academia, he added.
Editor’s Note: Boost to biofuel research at IIT Madras, IIT Madras inks pact with ExxonMobil, IITM biofuel research, IIT Collaborations, Biofuel research.