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Q6. Discuss several ways in which microorganisms can help in meeting the current fuel shortage. (Answer in 150 words) 10




Microorganisms can aid in addressing the current fuel shortage through a process called biofuel production. For instance, certain bacteria and yeast can ferment organic materials like sugarcane or corn to produce bioethanol, a renewable fuel. Similarly, microalgae can convert sunlight and carbon dioxide into biofuels like biodiesel.



Biofuel generation:

  • Microorganisms, such as algae and yeast, play a pivotal role in biofuel production. Algae, for example, have gained significant attention for their ability to convert sunlight and carbon dioxide into lipids that can be processed into biodiesel.
  • Indian government’s steps with PM-JiVAN, the Bioethanol blending program (EBP), and the National Biofuel Policy 2019 have shown results in lowering import fuel demand.

Biogas production:

  • Microbes are essential for the production of biogas through anaerobic digestion. Bacteria break down organic matter, such as agricultural waste and sewage, to produce methane-rich biogas.
  • Schemes like the SATAT on compressed biogas and the New National Biogas and Organic Manure Programme (NNBOMP) have provided intended benefits.

Waste-to-energy solutions:

  • Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) are a promising technology that uses microorganisms to convert organic matter in wastewater into electricity.
  • Microbial solutions are also being developed to digest plastics and provide an alternative energy source.

Enhanced oil recovery:

  • Microbial Enhanced Oil Recovery or MEOR can contribute to extending the life of mature oil reservoirs and optimizing oil extraction processes. For example, in the United States, the use of MEOR techniques has shown promising results, with increased oil production in some fields by up to 50%.

Biohydrogen production:

  • Microbial production of biohydrogen is a promising avenue for clean energy generation. Certain Algae and cyanobacteria are capable of producing hydrogen gas through fermentation of organic matter.


Thus, microorganisms stand as versatile allies in the quest to meet the current fuel shortage while advancing sustainability goals (SDG Goal 7- Clean Energy).