Sangita M. Kasture, Joint Director, Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, and Vice-Chancellor P. Manisankar at the National Repository for Microalgae and Cyanobacteria-Freshwater at Bharathidasan University in Tiruchi on Thursday.

Thehindu.com reports that Sangita M. Kasture, Joint Director of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) at India’s Bharathidasan University, said during the recent Inauguration of the National Repository for Micro-algae and Cyanobacteria-Freshwater, that the Centre had recently approved a national policy aimed at reducing oil import dependence by promoting biofuel. The policy had expanded the scope of raw material for ethanol production and had set a target of 10% ethanol blending in petrol by 2022.

Cultivation of microalgae in marine and fresh water could play a major role as they can be used as biofuel to be blended with diesel, said Ms. Kasture. “Biofuel derived from renewable biomass resources could provide a strategic advantage in supplementing conventional energy sources. Biofuel could satisfy energy needs in a cost-effective manner while reducing dependence on import of fossil fuels.”

She acknowledged there was a long way to go in achieving the target on blending ethanol with petrol and biofuel with diesel, however, the oil content from microalgae grown in marine and fresh water could supplement the biofuel requirement in a massive way. Hence, stakeholders should take a cue in cultivating microalgae from marine and fresh water.

Vice-Chancellor P. Manisankar said the repository, set up with DBT sponsorship at the university in Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, India, has a collection of about 200 fresh water cultures, and over 1,000 cultures for marine water.

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