Researchers from IIT Guwahati have created renewable and sustainable initiatives.

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The researchers at IIT Guwahati from the energy science and engineering, chemical engineering and bio science departments have been working on projects that focus on renewable and sustainable energy. Keeping in line with the themes of the G20 Summit 2023 in India, the institute is looking to secure energy and reduce the risk of spills. The research being conducted in this field at IIT Guwahati includes conversion of microalgae/biomass into energy, integrating wastewater treatment and biofuel production, producing bioalcohols from invasive weeds, and producing liquid hydrocarbon oil in an efficient manner.

Transforming residual microalgae/biomass into energy fuel and chemicals

Vaibhav V Goud, the head of the Department of Chemical Engineering at IITG’s School of Energy Science and Engineering, alongside his research group, has formulated a plan to convert residual microalgae and biomass into energy fuel and chemicals. According to the research, the integration of residual microalgae and biomass can lead to energy restoration and provide a sustainable option for a microalgae-based biorefinery to generate energy fuels and chemicals.

Integration of wastewater treatment and high-value biofuel production

Kaustubha Mohanty and his research team from the Department of Chemical Engineering have created an advanced model for a microalgal biorefinery that combines wastewater treatment and biofuel production through hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) using domestic sewage sludge and microalgal biomass as co-feedstock. This project is a collaboration between scientists from IIT Kharagpur, CSIR-IICT Hyderabad and Technical University Denmark, and the team is currently working on pilot-scale experiments to produce biocrude.

Producing bioalcohols from waste invasive weeds

Adjunct faculty members from the Department of Chemical Engineering, led by VS Moholkar, created a small-scale process for the production of bioalcohols such as bioethanol and biobutanol from invasive weeds located in northeast India. The team identified a technique for sonic fermentation that allows for the synthesis of bioalcohols from a combination of multiple weeds. This procedure is faster than the traditional process and yields more product.

Moholkar went into detail discussing the research study, remarking: “India is required to have 10% ethanol blended in with petrol. Our technique has not only come up with a sensible answer to attaining energy autonomy, but it has also proven the idea of utilizing the aggressive weeds, which have a harsh impact on terrestrial and aquatic habitats.”

Efficient production of liquid hydrocarbon oil

Debasish Das and his research group from the Department of Bio Engineering and Bio Science partnered with Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) to show a scaled-down version of a technology for the production of liquid hydrocarbon oil ALGLIQOL. This has the potential to be utilized as a fuel for transportation through hydrothermal liquification (HTL) of microalgae biomass cultivated on CO2.

Mayank Tewari


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