Lignocellulosic ethanol in India: Prospects, challenges and feedstock availability
India has a pressing need for renewable transportation fuels and bio-ethanol is considered as one of the most important options. Currently the country mandates use of 5% ethanol blending in motor gasoline in several states. The ethanol for this is mainly sourced from molasses feedstock, but this is barely sufficient to meet the current demand. Lignocellulosic biomass is the alternative but the availability of this resource is poorly documented. Also the technologies for ethanol production from lignocellulosic biomass are under preliminary stages of development which warrants extensive R&D in this field. The review discusses the current status of molasses based ethanol production in India and its limitations, the state of technologies for second generation ethanol production and the availability of feedstock for bio-ethanol production.