Dr. Harsh Vardhan celebrates Earth Day by inaugurating India’s first Cellulosic Alcohol Technology Demonstration Plant at Kashipur, Uttarakhand

Dr. Harsh Vardhan celebrates Earth Day by inaugurating India’s first Cellulosic Alcohol Technology Demonstration Plant at Kashipur, Uttarakhand

Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, inaugurated India’s 1st Second-Generation (2G) Ethanol plant today at Kashipur in Uttarakhand. Taking pride in the indigenously-developed technology and its evolution into a demonstration plant, he said that more such examples are needed, for the initiatives like Make in India and Swachh Bharat Abhiyan to be truly successful. Such technological breakthroughs can make India stand out as a leader in the world’s struggle to save the earth from challenges of global warming, he noted.

The Minister said that it is a novel technology suited to both Indian & Global Needs and is projected to be capable of converting all types of agricultural residues like Bagasse, Rice Straw, Wheat Straw, Bamboo, Cotton Stalk, Corn Stover, Wood chips etc. to ethanol in less than 24 hours, with optimum product yields. If successfully operated and scaled-up, it will establish India as a major global technology provider in the arena of renewables and reduction in carbon-emissions, besides effecting considerable savings in import of crude-oil.

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The Technology Demonstration plant, with a capacity to consume 10 tons of biomass per day, is based on the globally-competitive indigenous technology of converting lingo-cellulosic biomass to Ethanol. It is a Feedstock-independent technology developed by DBT-ICT Centre for Energy Biosciences at the Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT) Mumbai, supported by Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology and the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC).

Government of India has set a mandate of 5% blending of renewable biofuel in both petrol and diesel. While diesel biofuel blending is near zero, the petrol blending today stands at an overall of about 3% in the form of first generation (1G) or molasses-based Ethanol. While the annual requirement of 1G-ethanol stands at about 500 crore litres, the current total installed capacity is about 265 crore litres. In such a scenario, the targets of 10% blending by 2017 and 20% by 2020 look remote unless agricultural waste based ethanol i.e. 2G-Ehanol production technologies are successfully demonstrated. India’s potential for 2G-Ethanol production from a mere 10% of its non-food and non-fodder agricultural residues, currently estimated to be available in excess of 300 million tons, stands at nearly 1000 crore liters of ethanol.

Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Dr. K. Vijay Raghavan, expressed confidence that this technology, with the lowest capital and operating costs, would allow 2G-Alcohol to be produced and sold at globally-competitive price. The DBT-ICT Centre has already developed designs of plants with capacities of 250 - 500 tons/day. He said that this is an example of how we can work on the challenges the world faces, define them in Indian labs and then strive to solve them for the benefit of the world community in general and India in particular.


 Dr. Harsh Vardhan reviews the “Value Chain Citrus Development” project at ICAR Research Complex for North-East Region at Jharnapani, Nagaland 

Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr Harsh Vardhan, visited the first production facility created by Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science & Technology, under the project Value Chain Citrus Developmentat Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Research Complex for North-East Region, Jharnapani earlier this week. The Minister, while addressing the scientists and staff working at the facility, appreciated the efforts being made by them in providing value addition by biotechnological intervention in the production of citrus products in Nagaland.


Dr Harsh Vardhan was apprised about the preliminary study that has revealed that the quality of Ready-to-Serve (RTS) beverage and squash, prepared from Assam lemon following the protocols developed by IIT, Kharagpur, was of a very good quality and free from bitterness immediately after preparation. He was also informed that the steps for raising of rootstock seedlings in containerized nursery and wedge grafting in Khasi mandarin and Sweet orange have been standardized. Further, a large scale study of the enzymatic de-bittering of Assam lemon juice has also been successfully conducted. Fizzy drinks, Pectin Extraction, Juice concentrates by Flash Evaporation and Freeze Drying, Cold press and Hydro distilled peel oil have also been standardized by the facility and an innovative approach for preparation of carbonated drinks has been initiated.

The Minister, impressed with the research achievements under the project, encouraged the scientists to come up with new research ideas leading towards employment generation and development of North-East Region of India. He assured full cooperation of his Ministry for further enhanced R&D and extension initiatives in the region.


Dr Harsh Vardhan inaugurates the Paragonimiasis Research Lab(PRL) at Naga Hospital Authority Kohima (NHAK), Nagaland
Union Minister of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr Harsh Vardhan, on his visit to the Department of Bio-Technology (DBT)-funded Healthcare Laboratory and Research Centre at the Naga Hospital Authority Kohima (NHAK) earlier this week, inaugurated the Paragonimiasis Research Lab (PRL) there. Paragoimiasis is a food borne parasitic infection caused by eating undercooked crab or crayfish. It has been endemic in Nagaland and about half of the patients attending the TB clinic were actually suffering from pulmonary paragonimiasis.

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The Minister was apprised about the current status of Paragonimiasis in Nagaland. He was informed that there were more than 40 cases of Paragonimiasis in Nagaland, reported mostly from rural areas. The Minister exhorted the researchers to come forward to find a solution to the problem of paragonimiasis by involving local tribes and policy makers with support from Department of Bio-Technology and Department of Science & Technology.

Shri P. Longon, Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Government of Nagaland informed the Union Minister that after setting up Department of Bio-Technology health laboratory and research centre at NHAK, a total of 1,43,237 number of various laboratory tests have been done till date. Further, he appealed to the Union Minister to provide animal house facility for research purpose in the state, which was the immediate need as there was no animal house facility in the whole state

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