IIT Madras will collaborate with ExxonMobil on Research in Energy and Biofuels.

This comes in the backdrop of the Centre's new biofuel policy targets to convert the country’s biofuel industry into a $15.6 billion economy

The five-year joint-research agreement focuses on biofuels, data analytics, gas conversion and transport, and is intended towards finding low-emission solutions.

ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company (EMRE) for research on energy and biofuels is the research and engineering arm of ExxonMobil Corporation, a leading global oil, natural gas, and petrochemicals company. ExxonMobil has spent more than $9 billion since 2000, developing and deploying lower-emissions energy solutions.

A Master Research Agreement was signed last week by Vijay Swarup, Vice President of Research and Development, EMRE, and Ravindra Gettu, Dean, Industrial Consultancy and Sponsored Research, IIT Madras, says a release from the institute.

ExxonMobil works with over 80 universities around the world. This agreement gives a position in Indian academia, says the release.

R. Vinu, Associate Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Madras, said, “The objectives of this programme are aimed to deconstruct rice straw effectively, bagasse and other biomass varieties of Indian origin to produce sugars, which will directly feed into Exxon Mobil’s bioconversion platform; convert the lignin present in biomass to valuable phenols using novel catalysts, and evaluate the environmental and economic implications of performing such conversions at scale.

India is the 3rd highest producer of agro-residues globally with the surplus potential of over 230 million tonnes per year after China and Brazil. India’s huge biofuel potential is expected to get realized shortly with the ‘new biofuel policy’ of Government of India, which targets to convert the country’s biofuel industry into a $15.6 billion economy, said the release.