(GIST OF SCIENCE REPORTER) Role of Lignocellulosic Biomass in Decarbonisation

(GIST OF SCIENCE REPORTER) Role of Lignocellulosic Biomass in Decarbonisation


Role of Lignocellulosic Biomass in Decarbonisation


  • Biomass derived energy plays an important role in the path towards decarbonisation by 2050.
  • For India, decentralised processing of biomass is most suitable for meeting local requirements. This is due to variations in the quantity of biomass available at various locations at different times of the year.
  • Process optimisation is carried out keeping in mind the inherent differences in the various biomasses.
  • Effective utilisation of all the components of lignocellulosic biomass increases the profitability of biomass-based systems.


  • Biomass is the only source of renewable organic carbon that can produce fuels (liquid/solid/gaseous), chemicals and petrochemical feedstocks in this transitional scenario to supplement fossil-derived resources. 
  1. First generation biofuels are produced from edible biomass leading to the problem of food vs. fuel in certain situations. 
  2. Second generation biofuels are produced from biomass that is non-edible in nature and 
  3. third generation bio-fuels are produced from algal biomass. 
  • The National Biofuels Policy framed in 2018 by the Government of India mandated 20% bio-ethanol blending in petrol by 2030 and 5% bio-diesel blending with High Speed Diesel (HSD).
  • The target for 20% bio-ethanol blending has been preponed now to 2025 showing the government’s intent to move towards renewable and clean energy sources.
    India is primarily an agricultural country and it produces large quantities of crop residues. 
  • There is still surplus biomass available even after consumption of fodder. Around 22% of the country’s geographical area is also covered by forests leading to forest residues and forestry activity wastes. The bio-diesel programme leads to the generation of huge amounts of defatted cakes which cannot be used as poultry feed. 
  • There are several terrestrial invasive species as well that cause depletion of soil nutrients. All these feedstocks fall under the umbrella of lignocellulosic biomass. 
  • These domestic residual/waste biomasses are capable of supplementing India’s organic carbon requirement in a renewable and sustainable manner.
  • Aquatic biomass can either be algae, microalgae or macroalgae which are a good source of several important compounds such as nutraceuticals and can also be used for the production of fuels.
  • Aquatic weeds are also found to grow in water bodies leading to reduction of dissolved oxygen and depletion of nutrients leading to eutrophication. These aquatic weeds also need to be removed and converted to useful products.

Kind of lignocellulosic biomasses:

  • Several kinds of lignocellulosic biomass are available across our country – their quality and quantity varies from region to region in different times of the year. 
  • The estimated demand of biomass by 2050 is around 600 MMT and estimated availability is around 900 MMT well within the requirement. In this scenario, research has been focused on the valorisation of biomass for the production of fuels/chemicals/energy.
  • The most preferred method for solid biomass utilisation at present is through pelletisation. The biomass pellets are used for electricity generation directly and also through co-generation. These pellets can also be used in domestic cooking or industrial (direct or indirect) heating applications. Subsequently, these pellets can also be pyrolysed using the mobile pyrolysis unit. 
  • The major products from thermochemical biomass conversion are bio-oil and bio-char and several local applications are being developed for the same. The usage of bio-oil/blends is being extended for stationary power applications, supplement for furnace oil, source of functional chemicals, disinfectants, topical veterinary ointments, snake repellents, anti-termite, anti-fungal and wood borer repellent applications, etc. 
  • Bio-char on the other hand, can be used as soil amendment to increase the soil fertility, water retention and in turn, crop yields. Other high value applications for bio-char are as catalyst supports/catalysts, adsorbents, water treatment, supercapacitor applications, etc.



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Courtesy: Science Reporter