Agricultural Sciences

Title :

Multi-Crop Residue Processing Technology Package for Production of Fuel and Fertilizer

Area of research :

Agricultural Sciences, Energy Sciences, Earth, Atmosphere & Environment Sciences, Computer Sciences and Information Technology, Engineering Sciences

Focus area :

Production of Fuel and Fertilizer

Principal Investigator :

Prof. Debendra Chandra Baruah, Tezpur University, Assam

Timeline Start Year :


Contact info :


Executive Summary :

This multi-disciplinary research is attempting practical solution for utilization of surplus crop residues through development of a comprehensive technology package for series of unit operations for chain of processes for production of bio-CNG and organic fertilizer. Advanced knowledge of biology, microbiology, material science, ICT and relevant domains of Engineering, coupled with field and industrial expertise will be used to develop four specific but interrelated technologies for i) conversion of crop residues into feedstock for biogas production using pretreatment, ii) conversion of feedstock into biogas through sensor-controlled (ICT enabled) anaerobic reactor using suitable bacteria consortium, iii) upgradation of biogas to bio-CNG using efficient, cost-effective and scalable technique with scope for CO? recovery and iv) bottling of bio-CNG for cost-effective, market friendly storage and handling. Additionally, four innovative products viz., i) microbial methane enhancer for multi-crop residues, ii) multi crop residue digestate derived organic fertilizer, iii) Sensors for AD parameters and iv) AD operation control system will also be attempted. The technologies will be developed relying on existing know-how and also through refinement, extension and optimization of R&D outputs of consortium partners using computational techniques, proof of concept experiments and field demonstrations. Generally, in crop production, quantity of residue is more than main product, while their use has been limited to only as animal feed. Vast amount of crop residues are either unutilized or improperly utilized (open field burning). In-situ methane emission from anaerobic decomposition of unattended crop residues is a serious concern. Experts have opined feasibility of extracting substantial amount of crop residue biomass (which is a potential source of biofuel) without disturbing the soil health. However, in India, the use of crop residues for biofuel production has been limited to the level of R&D only, primarily due to i) absence of commercially viable technology package, ii) absence of driving force to attract entrepreneurs, iii) uncertainty regarding supply of suitable feedstock and iv) absence of commercially viable means of marketing biofuel. The technology package would address several interrelated topical issues including i) sustainable practices of crop residue management discouraging current practice of open field burning, (ii) enhance farm income by utilization of crop residues for commercial purpose, (iii) conserving and recycling of nutrients available in crop biomass, iv) increasing the reliability of feedstock supply and hence promoting growth of bioenergy and v) increasing the share of renewable energy generation linked with crop production. Finally, this farm-integrated biofuel generation system would contribute toward national mandates (climate change, doubling of farmers’ income, increasing reliance on domestic biofuel production).

Total Budget (INR):


Achievements :

• Proof of Concept of a Biogas Reactor Diagnostics tool is successfully tested. • Crop residues (rice straw, corn cob, corn stover, sugarcane baggase, oilseed crop residue) are identified. • IoT architecture for smart AD reactor is tested. • Potential crop residues are identified. The architecture for the smart bioreactor is conceptualized. • The architecture of a smart reactor is conceptualized - components are identified.

Organizations involved