Principal Scientific Adviser to the GoI Chairs Meeting to Discuss Biomass Cultivation on Degraded Land for Green Biohydrogen Production

Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA) to the Government of India, Professor Ajay Kumar Sood, convened the first meeting to discuss biomass cultivation on degraded land for green biohydrogen production and bioenergy generation today (May 14, 2024) at Vigyan Bhawan Annexe, New Delhi.

(Meeting on Biomass Cultivation on Degraded Land for Green Biohydrogen Production underway)


The meeting brought together key stakeholder government ministries, knowledge partners, and research institutes to explore the utilization of degraded, barren, and uncultivated lands for biomass cultivation. This biomass will be used to produce green biohydrogen, initiating a comprehensive discussion series among stakeholders to prepare an action plan for enhancing green hydrogen production from biomass.

In his opening address, Prof. Ajay Kumar Sood said that one of the objectives of the National Green Hydrogen Mission is to initiate focused pilots for biomass-based green biohydrogen production. Therefore, it is important to understand the biomass cultivation ecosystem of the country. Prof. Sood highlighted that the meeting aims to gather inputs on biomass and degraded land availability, identify gaps and challenges in biomass cultivation, and strategize a roadmap for using degraded land for green hydrogen production.

Dr. Rajesh Gokhale, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology (DBT), presented prospects for seaweed cultivation as biomass for bioenergy production and fostering a start-up ecosystem to boost marine biomanufacturing, aligned with India’s Deep Ocean Mission. This was followed by a presentation from Dr. A. Velmurugan, Additional Director General (Soil & Water Management), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), on biomass production for green energy using various plants, including algae, molasses, and sugarcane. Dr. Sangita M Kature, Adviser, Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) highlighted the various programs at the ministry for bioenergy and also talked about National Biomass Atlas for agri-residue surplus data. Dr. G. Sridhar, Director General, Sardar Swaran Singh National Institute of Bio-Energy (SSS NIBE), MNRE, highlighted the role of agri-residual biomass in the context of green hydrogen, discussing the availability of surplus biomass and its potential for energy production.

Dr. Prakash Chauhan, Director, National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), delivered a presentation on ‘Bhuvan portal for data on biomass availability from agri-residue and data on degraded Land Mapping. Dr. Chauhan emphasized the need for data on characterization of biomass for understanding the potential of biomass.

Sh. Neelesh Kumar Sah, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, highlighted government policies and programs addressing land degradation neutrality. Sh. Nitin Khade, Joint Secretary, Department of Land Resources, focused on using spineless cactus for green hydrogen production.

The final presentation by Sh. Hrushikesh Barve from Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics discussed the 4F-BioEconomy framework for land restoration and biomass cultivation.

(Meeting saw coming together of key government ministry officials and knowledge partners)


Industry experts and key government officials from various ministries, including the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas; Ministry of Mines; Ministry of Power; Ministry of Road Transport & Highways; Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways; Ministry of Railways; Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare; and Department of Land Resources provided their inputs on various schemes under their departments for biomass cultivation and production of hydrogen.

Dr. Parvinder Maini, Scientific Secretary, Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, summarized the meeting’s outcomes, emphasizing the need for biomass cultivation in land as well as in marine ecosystems. Dr. Maini highlighted the importance of R&D on generating more biomass with less resources like water, specifically in the context of Napier grass, energy cane, and cactus.

Prof. Sood concluded by re-emphasising the need to identify biomass for cultivation and identification of government-owned land available with ministries/ departments for cultivating biomass for the purpose of enhancing hydrogen production in the country. Prof. Sood mentioned that this approach of utilizing both public and private land for sustainable biomass cultivation would meet the country’s energy demand, reduce dependency on fuel imports, generate revenue, and significantly contribute to bioenergy production. He stressed that biomass cultivation for bioenergy should be sourced and processed sustainably and cost-effectively while maintaining local environmental biodiversity.

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