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May 22 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm


The Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA) to the Government of India organized a meeting to explore the potential of cultivating biomass on degraded land for green biohydrogen production and bioenergy generation. 

Key stakeholders and research institutes participated to discuss strategies and initiatives in this regard. 

Key Highlights: 

Biomass Cultivation Prospects: 

  • Seaweed Cultivation: Seaweed cultivation was highlighted as a potential biomass source for bioenergy production, along with fostering marine biomanufacturing start-ups. 
  • Plant-Based Biomass: Discussions included the use of various plants such as algae, molasses, and sugarcane for biomass production. 

Government Programs and Data Utilisation: 

  • The meeting emphasized the objective of the National Green Hydrogen Mission to pilot biomass-based green biohydrogen production. 
  • The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) shared information about existing bioenergy programs and the National Biomass Atlas for Agri-residue surplus data. 

Economic and Strategic Frameworks: 

  • The National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) presented the Bhuvan portal for biomass availability and highlighted the importance of biomass characterization data for understanding its potential. 

Biomass Cultivation on Degraded Land: 

  • Biomass cultivation on degraded land involves growing organic matter on land unsuitable for conventional agriculture due to factors like soil erosion or deforestation. 
  • Benefits include soil restoration, carbon sequestration, sustainable biohydrogen production, bioenergy generation, and enhancing food security. 

India’s Biomass Energy Potential: 

  • India’s strong agricultural sector provides widespread biomass availability, contributing to the country’s GDP and livelihood generation. 
  • The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy estimates significant biomass surplus and power potential, indicating the viability of biomass energy production. 

Challenges in Biomass Cultivation on Degraded Land: 

Soil Quality and Species Selection: 

  • Rehabilitating degraded soil quality and selecting resilient biomass crops adapted to harsh conditions are challenges. 
  • Research is needed to identify suitable species and improve their adaptability. 

Water Availability and Management: 

  • Ensuring adequate water resources and implementing efficient irrigation methods are essential for biomass cultivation. 
  • Rainwater harvesting techniques can enhance water availability on degraded land. 

Economic Viability and Market Demand: 

  • Initial investments in land preparation and infrastructure pose economic challenges. 
  • Biomass crops must align with market demand for bioenergy or other products to ensure economic viability. 

Biodiversity and Ecological Impact: 

  • Introducing biomass crops may impact local ecosystems and biodiversity. 
  • Cultivation methods should minimize ecological impact and promote biodiversity conservation. 

Way Forward: 

  • Cultivation Techniques: Implement strategies like incorporating organic matter and using biofloculation to improve soil fertility. 
  • Biomass Cultivation with Agroforestry: Adopt multi-tiered cropping systems integrating fast-growing trees with native grasses and legumes. 
  • Drones for Degraded Land Diagnostics: Utilize drones with multispectral sensors for rapid assessment of degraded land, soil mapping, and identification of potential biomass cultivation areas. 
  • Market Development: Develop markets for biomass and its by-products to ensure economic viability and support rural livelihoods. 


Biomass cultivation on degraded land holds significant potential for sustainable energy production and land restoration in India. Implementing effective strategies and overcoming challenges are crucial for realizing this potential and addressing energy and environmental concerns. 

Mains Question: 

  1. “Discuss the significance of harnessing degraded lands for biodiversity conservation and sustainable energy production in India. (150 WORDS)


May 22
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
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