Himachal Pradesh will start a pilot project for bio-energy production from pine needles and bamboo as the state is blessed with an enormous wealth of coniferous forest and has a high potential for bamboo production, Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said.
The project would involve the local community and increase their income. The state government is all set to partner with the Indian School of Business (ISB) to provide policy inputs and research support for the emerging bio-energy sector, he said in a statement issued here on Saturday. “Many sectors like thermal power, cement and steel were exploring fossil fuel substitutes to reduce emissions. The scope can be expanded to include fuel briquettes made from pine needles as potential substitutes, which has the advantage of much higher calorific value and this would also pave the way for strengthening the rural economy,” said Sukhu.
ISB would provide the business model and technology to make this project a success and would also ensure adequate market linkage. As the government mandate for ethanol blending in petrol has increased from 10 per cent to 20 per cent with the target of achieving ‘Green Energy State’ by 2025, ISB would also undertake the task of making ethanol, compressed bio-gas and bio-fertilizer from bamboo, he said. The residue of ethanol production from bamboo serves as feedstock for the production of compressed bio-gas and bio-fertilizer in large quantities, he added.
Emphasizing the importance of community ownership of forests, the chief minister said it provides incentives for communities to protect, and manage them sustainably. He further said that community ownership of forest land is associated with greater social responsibility and increased incentives for forest protection. This would attract industrial partners and private investments, as it improves environmental, social, and governance issues, he added. Executive Director of Indian School of Business, Professor Ashwini Chhatre and Policy Director, Aarushi Jain elaborated on various projects undertaken by ISB.