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Algal biofuel production and mitigation potential in India

Chanakya, HN and Mahapatra, Durga Madhab and Sarada, R and Abitha, R (2013) Algal biofuel production and mitigation potential in India. In: MITIGATION AND ADAPTATION STRATEGIES FOR GLOBAL CHANGE, 18 (1, SI). pp. 113-136.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11027-012-9389-z


Energy and energy services are the backbone of growth and development in India and is increasingly dependent upon the use of fossil based fuels that lead to greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions and related concerns. Algal biofuels are being evolved as carbon (C)-neutral alternative biofuels. Algae are photosynthetic microorganisms that convert sunlight, water and carbon dioxide (CO2) to various sugars and lipids Tri-Acyl-Glycols (TAG) and show promise as an alternative, renewable and green fuel source for India. Compared to land based oilseed crops algae have potentially higher yields (5-12 g/m(2)/d) and can use locations and water resources not suited for agriculture. Within India, there is little additional land area for algal cultivation and therefore needs to be carried out in places that are already used for agriculture, e.g. flooded paddy lands (20 Mha) with village level technologies and on saline wastelands (3 Mha). Cultivating algae under such conditions requires novel multi-tier, multi-cyclic approaches of sharing land area without causing threats to food and water security as well as demand for additional fertilizer resources by adopting multi-tier cropping (algae-paddy) in decentralized open pond systems. A large part of the algal biofuel production is possible in flooded paddy crop land before the crop reaches dense canopies, in wastewaters (40 billion litres per day), in salt affected lands and in nutrient/diversity impoverished shallow coastline fishery. Mitigation will be achieved through avoidance of GHG, C-capture options and substitution of fossil fuels. Estimates made in this paper suggest that nearly half of the current transportation petro-fuels could be produced at such locations without disruption of food security, water security or overall sustainability. This shift can also provide significant mitigation avenues. The major adaptation needs are related to socio-technical acceptance for reuse of various wastelands, wastewaters and waste-derived energy and by-products through policy and attitude change efforts.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: SPRINGER
Additional Information: Copyright for this article belongs to SPRINGER, NETHERLANDS
Keywords: Algal biofuel;Wastewater algae;Paddy-algiculture;Multi-tier;Multi-cyclic algiculture;Algal biomethane
Department/Centre: Division of Mechanical Sciences > Centre for Sustainable Technologies (formerly ASTRA)
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2013 12:46
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2013 12:46
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/45690

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