Researchers at Gujarat Biotechnology University (GBU) are developing technologies to produce carbon-free fuel that can eventually reduce carbon emissions and contribute to a green environment, according to officials.
With the vision of making a “green process concept”, the research group is working on “whole-cell bio-catalysis” (WCB) for the synthesis of green fuels and biopolymers. The team claimed that the process is not only low-cost but also easily scalable on the industrial size.
The university has been established in partnership with the University of Edinburgh (UoE), United Kingdom.
The progress of industrialisation and exponential growth in global usage of petroleum-based hydrocarbons has elevated the global carbon footprint. The researchers of the newly established institute are working towards reducing carbon emissions.
“Carbon burden (is) a major concern currently threatening future human sustenance and creating green technology with carbon-free alternative fuels is the only way out, and WCB is a promising platform to achieve this mission,” Sudheer Pamidimarri, associate professor, GBU, told PTI.
“The project started late in the year 2019, we got a few leads working with modern ‘omics’ tools and (are) now getting ready to work to execute the idea. In this work, we are going to implement novel metabolic-flux engineering tools for the first time to establish WCB to generate carbon-free fuels such as Bio-H2. The targeted timeline for achieving this task on a laboratory scale is 2024. Further planning will be done for industrial scale-up,” he added.
The "Synthesis of Green Fuels" (Bio-H2) project is being funded by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India. The synthesis of biopolymers (Di-acids, PHBs and amines, among others) using waste biomass will be a future focus of this research group.
With the concept of "whole-cell biocatalysis", the research group has developed a model that would reduce the cost of the process by at least 50-fold and have a promising application in industrial scale-up.
The research group is also looking to engineer the whole-cell system to synthesize the Bio-H2 fuel from crude glycerol and lignocellulosic biomass-derived sugars.