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Prof Ajay Kumar Sood Convenes Meeting to Discuss Biomass Cultivation on Degraded Land for Green Hydrogen Production

This landmark meeting marks the beginning of a concerted effort to utilize India's degraded lands for sustainable energy solutions, contributing to the broader goals of the National Green Hydrogen Mission.

Shivam Dwivedi
Prof Ajay Kumar Sood Convenes Meeting to Discuss Biomass Cultivation on Degraded Land for Green Hydrogen Production (Photo Source: @PrinSciAdvOff/X)
Prof Ajay Kumar Sood Convenes Meeting to Discuss Biomass Cultivation on Degraded Land for Green Hydrogen Production (Photo Source: @PrinSciAdvOff/X)

On May 14, 2024, Professor Ajay Kumar Sood, Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA) to the Government of India, convened a meeting at Vigyan Bhawan Annexe, New Delhi, focused on biomass cultivation on degraded land for green biohydrogen production and bioenergy generation. This meeting gathered stakeholders from various government ministries, research institutes, and knowledge partners to discuss and strategize the use of barren and uncultivated lands for biomass cultivation, an important component of India's National Green Hydrogen Mission.

In his opening remarks, Prof. Sood highlighted the mission's goal to initiate pilot projects for biomass-based green biohydrogen production. He emphasized the need to understand India's biomass cultivation landscape, identify existing challenges, and develop a strategic roadmap for utilizing degraded land in green hydrogen production.

Innovative Biomass Cultivation Techniques

Dr. Rajesh Gokhale, Secretary of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), presented on seaweed cultivation as a biomass source, aligning with the Deep Ocean Mission. His presentation underscored the potential of fostering a start-up ecosystem in marine biomanufacturing.

Following this, Dr. A. Velmurugan of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) discussed biomass production for green energy using plants like algae, molasses, and sugarcane. Dr. Sangita M Kature from the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) showcased the National Biomass Atlas and various ministry programs aimed at bioenergy.

Dr. Prakash Chauhan from the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), ISRO, introduced the ‘Bhuvan’ portal, detailing its capabilities for mapping biomass availability from agri-residue and degraded lands. This data is crucial for understanding biomass potential and planning effective cultivation strategies.

Neelesh Kumar Sah from the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change discussed policies addressing land degradation neutrality, while Nitin Khade from the Department of Land Resources highlighted the use of spineless cactus for green hydrogen production.

Hrushikesh Barve of Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics presented the 4F-BioEconomy framework, emphasizing land restoration and biomass cultivation strategies.

Key inputs were provided by officials from the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Ministry of Mines, Ministry of Power, and other relevant departments, each discussing their schemes supporting biomass cultivation and hydrogen production.

Dr. Parvinder Maini, Scientific Secretary to the PSA, summarized the meeting, stressing the importance of research and development in generating more biomass with fewer resources, focusing on plants like Napier grass, energy cane, and cactus.

Concluding the meeting, Prof. Sood reiterated the necessity of identifying suitable biomass for cultivation and leveraging government-owned lands for this purpose. He emphasized that a sustainable and cost-effective approach to biomass cultivation would significantly enhance India's hydrogen production capacity, reduce fuel import dependency, generate revenue, and support bioenergy production while preserving environmental biodiversity.

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