March 1, 2024

Lukmaan IAS

A Blog for IAS Examination

UTILIZING SILKWORM REARING WASTE FOR ECO-FRIENDLY BIOREFINERIES

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TAG: GS 3: ECONOMY, AGRICULTURE

THE CONTEXT: The Central Sericultural Research and Training Institute (CSRTI) in Mysuru has initiated a pilot-scale project to explore the production of bioethanol and biohydrogen from waste generated during silkworm rearing.

EXPLANATION:

  • The project is in line with the Indian government’s focus on eco-friendly biorefineries.
  • Under the direction of CSRTI Director, a team of scientists has been actively engaged in this project since April 2023.
  • Initial laboratory experiments focusing on ethanol production have shown promising results.
  • The ongoing studies now aim to ascertain the feasibility of producing biohydrogen from the silkworm rearing waste.

Significance in Fuel Development:

  • The research assumes significance considering the Indian government’s plans to enhance the blending of bioethanol with petrol, aiming to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
  • The increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, primarily stemming from fossil fuel combustion, have become a concerning environmental issue.

Focus on Biohydrogen as a Renewable Fuel:

  • During silkworm rearing, significant quantities of mulberry shoot and silkworm litter are generated annually.
  • These waste materials contain over 50% cellulose, a key raw material for biorefineries.
  • A scientist at CSRTI highlighted the potential of utilizing these residues for second-generation bioethanol and biohydrogen production.
  • While bioethanol production has shown promise, biohydrogen is gaining attention as a more attractive renewable fuel.
  • Its combustion generates water instead of greenhouse gases, making it an environmentally preferable alternative.
  • CSRTI scientists are eager to explore and assess the viability of biohydrogen production from silkworm rearing waste.

Economic Viability and Potential Collaboration:

  • CSRTI plans to collaborate with industries if the production of bioethanol and biohydrogen from silkworm rearing waste proves economically feasible.
  • The potential collaboration aims to scale up production on an experimental basis and explore the commercial viability of this eco-friendly approach.

Technology Application and Industry Impact:

  • If successful, this technology not only holds promise for startups in bioethanol and biohydrogen production but also adds value to the sericulture industry in India.
  • The effective utilization of waste materials for renewable energy production can significantly benefit multiple sectors while promoting sustainability.

Central Sericultural Research and Training Institute (CSRTI):

  • Central Sericultural Research & Training Institute (CSRTI), Mysore, is the pioneer research institution in the field of tropical sericulture.
  • It was established at Chennapattna in 1961 under the administrative control of Central Silk Board, Ministry of Textiles, Government of India.
  • It aimed for the over all development of silk industry in the country.
  • During the course of development, the Institute was shifted to Mysore the princely city in the year 1963.

Conclusion:

  • The initiative by CSRTI showcases a proactive approach towards utilizing agricultural waste for sustainable energy production.
  • The exploration of bioethanol and biohydrogen from silkworm rearing waste represents a step forward in addressing environmental concerns related to fossil fuel dependence and carbon emissions.
  • If proven viable, this innovative technology can pave the way for eco-friendly fuel production and contribute positively to India’s renewable energy initiatives.

SOURCE: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/research-underway-to-produce-bioethanol-and-biohydrogen-from-silkworm-rearing-waste/article67693233.ecev

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