Ashwani Kumar

  Department of Botany and Biotechnology, University of Rajasthan,

Jaipur, 302004, India


      AbstractClimate change is  taking place due to emissions of  greenhouse gases.    Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most important greenhouse gas. Photosynthetic organisms use solar energy to generate reducing equivalents and incorporate atmospheric CO2 into organic molecules. This helps in carbon sequestration. First generation biofuels -  ethanol and biodiesel are predominantly produced from corn kernels, sugarcane or soybean oil,  rape seed oil, palm oil etc. During the last three  decades the  work was initiated on petro-crops followed by researches on Jatropha  at our Energy Plantation Demonstration Project at University of Rajasthan, Jaipur under various projects of Govt.  of India. However use of Jatropha or palm oil or soybean oil for  biodiesel raised the controversy  on  food vs fuel. Arguments were made that even if non edible oil yielding crops  are  raised on wastelands the ecological balance  including nutrient status and nutrient  use efficiency was disturbed due to cultivation of energy crops. These controversies paved way for  the next generation  biofuels.  Currently, cellulosic biofuels and algal biodiesels are prominent biological approaches to sequester and convert CO2. However another biofuel feedstock, lignocelluloses—the most abundant biological material on earth is being explored. Lignocelluloses is everywhere—wheat straw, corn husks, prairie grass, discarded rice hulls or trees. The race is on to optimize the technology that can produce biofuels from lignocelluloses sources more efficiently—and biotech companies are in the running. Second and third generation biofuels require  altering host material  by metabolic engineering for entire product and  developing new enzyme systems. Industrial application of biofuel inclusive of related bio products of commercial value from fourth generation products is being adapted on large scale..  Carbon captured in cellulosic biofuels  and algal biodiesels are prominent biological approaches to sequester and convert CO2. Lipid productivity of many algae greatly exceeds that of the best cellulosic ethanol production. Another approach is direct conversion of CO2 to fuels  or chemicals.  Next generation biofuels will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote energy independence, provide clean environment  and encourage rural development.


Ashwani Kumar  : E-mail: ashwanikumar214@gmail.com Dr Ashwani Kumar, Professor, Department of Botany, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, has earned gold medal in M.Sc, and obtained Ph.D. from Rajasthan University. He also has the distinction of being an Alexander Von Humboldt Fellow (Germany). He was the Honorary Director at the School of Life Sciences, University of Rajasthan. The author’s repertoire of published works spreads across 150 research articles in various national and international journals. With an experience of over three decades in his field of research, namely, tissue culture and biochemistry the author was awarded V Puri medal recently.  He has worked with Professor Katsuko Komatsu at Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University, Toyama, Japan and Professor Dr Sven Schubert at IFZ Germany.  He  is currently engaged in research on salinity tolerance  in cereals and crops, biofuels and medicinal plants.

Kumar, was awarded Gold Medal in 1967,  Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship (1977), full Professor of Botany  visting Professorship Japan , has collaborations with  over 12 countries for research activities in the field of plant biotechnology, physiology, bio-energy research,    published 212 research articles, 8 books including two with Springer, guided 37 students towards Ph.D. degree, carried out 10 major research projects of Govt of India and Deutsche Forshung Geminschaft . Former Head Department of Botany and Director Life Sciences, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur.Awarded V. Puri  Medal by Indian Botanical Society of India.