THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Biotechnology Division of the National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (NIIST), a constituent laboratory of CSIR here, has established Centre for Biofuels (CBF), which will serve as a national facility for exclusive research and development activities in biofuels and bioenergy.
The facility has come up as a nodal centre for research on biofuels with the funding from the Technology Information, Forecasting and Analysis (TIFAC), Department of Science and Technology and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), New Delhi.
The CBF is actively involved in research on developing alternative renewable transportation fuels such as bioethanol and biodiesel.
An 80-kg/batch capacity pilot plant for ethanol production from lignocellulosic biomass including agro-residues and forestry by-products has been set up on the NIIST campus, which is first-of-its-kind in the country.
The CBF has carried out extensive research in the areas of biomass pretreatment, enzyme technologies, organism development and overall process integration to achieve better process economics.
NIIST CBF has carried out extensive work on compositional characterisation and variability of potent Indian feedstock. It also undertook a study for the International Energy Agency (IEA), France, to develop the biofuels policy by the IEA country-wise.
The CBF has also initiated activities on biomass-based butanol production and algal biofuels.
The CBF is initiating collaborations with international universities and institutions for advanced studies on biomass-based fuels and energy and the life cycle along with techno-economic analyses.