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India plans to start large-scale production of bio-bitumen from biomass: Report

India is planning to initiate large-scale production of bio-bitumen derived from biomass or agricultural waste, aiming to reduce reliance on imports of this essential road construction material and tackle the issue of stubble burning. Bitumen, a crucial component derived from crude oil distillation, is widely utilized to bind paved road surfaces.

Currently, India imports approximately half of its annual bitumen requirement, but the goal is to completely replace these imports with bio-bitumen within the next decade, according to a senior government official speaking to The Economic Times. “Pending the success of the pilot project, we anticipate commencing extensive bio-bitumen production by late 2025,” the official stated.

The Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Petroleum, Dehradun, will conduct a pilot study on a 1-kilometer road segment using bio-bitumen. Successful outcomes will lead to commercialization of the technology, with potential transfer to private entities or public sector enterprises for large-scale production of bio-bitumen to be utilized in national highway construction.

“We are optimistic about commencing commercial production of bio-bitumen by the end of next year. This initiative promises substantial savings in foreign exchange, promotes self-sufficiency in bio-bitumen production, and offers a promising solution to the problem of stubble burning,” remarked CRRI director Manoranjan Parida to ET. Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari is closely monitoring the project’s progress, funded by his ministry, as the government explores diverse alternatives for road construction, including recycled waste materials and molasses.

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