Scientists use specialized microbes to convert pine needles into ethanol

September 26, 2021 |

In India, Tribune India reports that scientists at Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry devised a method employing micro-organisms to break down pine needles into ethanol. Pine needles are often a source of forest fires in India causing huge losses every year.

The scientists of the Department of Basic Sciences had been on the mission for the past two years under a Rs 50.65-lakh project — “Bioconversion of pine needles: A challenging waste of Himalayan forest to second-generation biofuel”.

Dr Parvinder Kaushal, Vice-Chancellor, said, “So far, in this project, the work has been accomplished to produce fuel-grade ethanol from the unutilised forest waste by devising a novel technology, which includes employing novel specialised microbes to solubilise resistant pine needles and subsequently standardisation of fermentation to ethanol.

“With the Government of India aiming to switch to 20 per cent ethanol blending in petrol by 2025, the technique to produce biofuel is likely to be in demand. The Himachal Government has also decided to set up an ethanol plant in the state,” said the VC.

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Category: Research

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