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SAHYOG: Future of Bio-based Economy in India and European Union

NEW DELHI, November 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

An Assessment of Indo-European Biomass and Bio-waste Conversion Potential

An Indo-European joint initiative for strengthening networking on Biomass Research and Bio-waste valorisation for sustainable bio-based economy was initiated through 'SAHYOG' under the joint sponsorship of European Commission and Government of India's Department of Biotechnology. The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) was selected as the project coordinator in India.

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The project aims at developing strong Indo-European linkages between on-going and future research and innovation projects with the aim to exploit cooperation synergies for sustainable development. Thus, initial work will focus on developing comprehensive inventories of research activities both in EU and India, in order to identify common areas of interest as well as knowledge gaps and cooperation opportunities. It will be supplemented by inventories to document biomass production and bio-waste availability in both the regions to predict future potentials and limitations. 

Dr. Philippe Du Poet, Minister Counselor, Delegation of European Union to India, said, "This joint initiative will effectively link research activities implemented within European Union's research programmes and related activities of Indian national institutions to provide a policy framework for future research initiatives in areas of bio-economy," while inaugurating the programme's stakeholder meeting held at TERI.

The SAHYOG project aims to establish a road map through a joint initiative on what the European Union and its Member States could do together with India towards finding solutions for existing challenges and needs in biotechnological research activities on biomass production and bio-waste conversion.

The integrated activities planned in the project will be carried out through a partnership of stakeholders from EU and India involving public and private organizations that conceive and fund research programs as well as representatives from the scientific community.

Responsible for international cooperation on bio-energy from Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA), Italy, Dr. Neeta Sharma, Coordinator Europe stated, "SAHYOG aims at providing a strategic research agenda and roadmap in order to facilitate concerted planning of future joint EU-India research initiatives."

Dr. R. K. Pachauri, Director General, TERI, complimented the ongoing effort of this Indo-European consortium, emphasising the importance of a radical change required in the area of biomass technologies for a sustainable bio based economy.

The India Coordinator for SAHYOG from TERI, Dr. Priyangshu Sarma, explained, "This joint collaboration will help to identify opportunities for joint research initiatives between Europe and India in the field of biomass production and bio-waste conversion through biotechnological interventions."

Citing the importance of biomass storage depots, Mr. K Krishan, representing the taskforce of Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) on bioenergy, emphasised the role of comprehensive inventories for biomass availability for implementation of economically viable bio-based energy projects.

The project will discuss the twinning of existing projects under the theme and short term exchanges among researchers, which will serve as important tools to strengthen collaboration and promote networking in areas of shared strategic interest.

In order to provide opportunities to explore the opinions and perspectives of European and Indian scientists and R&D program managers, several stakeholder workshops, conferences and summer schools have been planned. These will increase the visibility of scientific excellence and the impact of innovation in the sector. Finally, a strategic research agenda and an R&D roadmap will be developed in order to facilitate concerted planning of future joint Indo-European research initiatives.

Thereby, SAHYOG will help to identify opportunities for joint initiatives between the European Union and its Member States and India in the field of biomass production and bio-waste conversion through biotechnological interventions. 

At its conclusion, the project seeks to attain the following outcomes:

  1. A full inventory of biomass production (including agriculture and forestry) and biowaste availability (including wastewater sludge) and future potentials and limitations (in Europe and India).
  2. An inventory of ongoing and past research projects (upstream and downstream) with a strategy for optimal use of the on-going research.
  3. A strategy toward new trends in agriculture in the EU and India towards high biomass yields and qualities in a multipurpose approach (agriculture policy).
  4. A strong interaction with all kinds of stakeholders in EU and India (twinning of existing projects, stakeholder workshop and exchange visits).
  5. A road map that describes integrated biomass management towards 2050 in the Future Green Economy of India and Europe (including new biomass-based trade opportunities between both sub-continents).
  6. A Strategic Research Agenda that will indicate the needs and the gaps in research that must be solved in order to implement the road map and to define the strengths and focus of the EU and India respectively. This will also help the European Commission in identifying the priority areas for the future calls.
  7. A strong communication (including training) to improve the societal, political, scientific and industrial vision toward the new sustainable strategy.

About The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)

From microbiology to global climate change, from smoke-filled rural kitchens to plush corporate boardrooms, from school children to heads of state - no sphere of human endeavor is unfamiliar to TERI. Headed by world-renowned economist and Nobel Prize winning climate scientist, Dr. R K Pachauri, TERI is best described as an independent, not-for-profit research institute focused on energy, environment, and sustainable development and devoted to efficient and sustainable use of natural resources.

Primary Media Contact: Zainab Naeem, [email protected], 91-8800286575

Secondary Media Contact: Samarth Pathak, [email protected], 91-9811347927

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