Waste management is a basic need in the modern world. As the country’s population is growing at an alarming rate, waste production and energy consumption are also increasing side by side. Developing country demands better energy sources to be provided in a clean environment. India is an agricultural dominant country where a significant portion of land is used for agricultural exercises. Several crops are grown in various regions of the country. Wheat and rice are the main cereal crops grown with fibers and other oilseeds. After harvesting, an enormous amount of crop waste is left on-field and is mostly burned down to clear the area for sowing succeeding crops. This custom is increasing lately due to the non-availability of cheap labour and lack of harvesting machines for residue removal. Burning has adverse consequences on the environment as it releases soot particles and greenhouse gases in a large amount that are the main concern for global warming. The elevated soil temperature causes the death of active beneficial microbial population thereby making it less fertile and increasing the dependence on chemical fertilizers. Also, the aromatic hydrocarbon molecules released depletes the stratospheric ozone layer and could be a suspected carcinogen. This is a significant reason for a sudden increase in airborne diseases. I would like to provide an alternative solution stubble burning problem. The cereal crops and sugarcane residue tops can be a good cattle feed as they contain sufficient carbohydrate amount along with essential micronutrients like nitrogen, magnesium, and sulfur. It is also a good source of roughage that will help them in their digestion. Rice straw, groundnut residues, and coconut shells can be used as a domestic fuel. Currently, the most effective application in waste utilization is in bio-fuel production. Bio-fuel is a sustainable form of renewable energy source as opposed to the detrimental global impact of fossil products. Fossil reserves have been depleted completely in most areas due to their non-stop usage and consumption in recent years.
Cellulose, an organic polymer is a dominant waste material from agricultural practices and it represents a large fraction of biomass. Selective micro-organisms can degrade this compound and produce primary energy products that can be gas or liquid. These are further converted by biochemical means into a suitable form. Solid-state fermentation is one such easy and cost-effective technology that can be employed to convert organic farm waste into an energy reserve. This approach has two distinct stages. The first step is the conversion of cellulosic biomass to organic sugars and the second is the transformation of these sugars into gasoline derived molecules.
Solid biomass that needs to be degraded is taken in a fermentor and specific cellulose-degrading micro-organisms are induced to grow. Micro-organisms produce a set of enzymes (biocatalysts) that will convert the cellulosic biomass into bioethanol, biomethanol, biodiesel, or biohydrogen. Bioethanol has an advantage over others due to its non-corrosiveness nature and less toxicity. These energy reserves can be utilized in powering the turbines for electricity or in internal ignition engines. It will bring a minimum outflow of greenhouse gases and other environmental pollutants.
Future farming practices need to be diverse and gain the best from the soil without destroying natural resources. Environment protection and using alternative energy sources set the base towards sustainable production systems. Agricultural waste has great potential in the production of biofuel and future endeavors must prompt in designing an ecologically friendly stage for modern development. Thus, using renewable energy sources must be a critically important measure in upcoming years to meet the growing energy demands cost-effectively. Community efforts from individuals of all classes are required for adopting biofuels into the current energy system particularly by utilizing the agricultural waste. Based on current progress and advances in the field, a comprehensive investigation mechanism is essential for fundamental mechanistic research and production under diverse conditions.