Focus: GS-III Environment and Ecology
Why in news?
A webinar on the occasion of the World Biofuel day was organized by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, with the theme “Biofuels towards Atmanirbhar Bharat”.
Highlights of discussions
- The scope of producing Biofuels is immense in India as India being a large agricultural economy, has a large amount of agricultural residues available.
- If we look at the Biofuels, there are three major areas- Ethanol, Bio-diesel and Biogas.
- If we are able to exploit these three, then we can reduce our dependence on import of crude to a very large extent and import of gas also.
- The support of the State Governments to the sector in necessary a very big way because the agricultural residues and all the other wastes, which may come from the municipal solid wastes or other form of wastes all has to be collected segregated, managed and then supplied to various plants which may come up.
- There is a very crucial need for sensitizing other stakeholders, primarily, the farmers and also the common public who may be producing wastes and not managing the wastes the way it should be managed so that it can further be used and converted into useful forms.
- Biofuels have multiple benefits such as reduction on import dependence, ensuring a cleaner environment, generating additional income for farmers and employment generation.
- By reducing crop burning & conversion of agricultural residues/wastes to biofuels there will be further reduction in Green House Gas emissions.
Since, 2014, the Government of India has taken a number of initiatives to increase blending of biofuels.
The major initiatives include
- Administrative price mechanism for ethanol,
- Simplifying the procurement procedures by OMCs,
- Amending the provisions of Industries (Development & Regulation) Act, 1951,
- Long term ethanol procurement policy,
- Ethanol distillation capacity addition and
- Enabling lignocellulosic route for ethanol procurement.
National Policy on Biofuels
- In order to promote biofuels in the country, first National Policy on Biofuels was made by Ministry of New and Renewable Energy during the year 2009.
- National Policy on Biofuels -2018 builds on the achievements of the earlier National Policy on Biofuels setting new agenda consistent with the redefined role of emerging developments in the renewable sector aiming to bring in renewed focus taking into context the international perspectives and National scenario.
- The policy envisages an indicative target of 20% blending of ethanol in petrol and 5% blending of bio-diesel in diesel by 2030.
- The Policy categorises biofuels as “Basic Biofuels” viz. First Generation (1G) bioethanol & biodiesel and “Advanced Biofuels” – Second Generation (2G) ethanol, Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to drop-in fuels, Third Generation (3G) biofuels, bio-CNG etc. to enable extension of appropriate financial and fiscal incentives under each category.
- The Policy expands the scope of raw material for ethanol production by allowing use of Sugarcane Juice, Sugar containing materials like Sugar Beet, Sweet Sorghum, Starch containing materials like Corn, Cassava, Damaged food grains like wheat, broken rice, Rotten Potatoes, unfit for human consumption for ethanol production.
- The Policy allows use of surplus food grains for production of ethanol for blending with petrol with the approval of National Biofuel Coordination Committee – so that farmers get appropriate price for their produce during the surplus production phase.
- The Policy encourages setting up of supply chain mechanisms for biodiesel production from non-edible oilseeds, Used Cooking Oil, short gestation crops.
Importance of biofuels in India
- Globally, biofuels have caught the attention in last decade and it is imperative to keep up with the pace of developments in the field of biofuels.
- Biofuels in India are of strategic importance as it augers well with the ongoing initiatives of the Government such as Make in India, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Skill Development and offers great opportunity to integrate with the ambitious targets of doubling of Farmers Income, Import Reduction, Employment Generation, Waste to Wealth Creation.
World Biofuel Day
Every year 10th August is observed as World Bio-Fuel Day in a bid to create awareness about non fossil-fuels (Green Fuels) as an alternative to conventional fossil fuels and to highlight the various efforts made by the Government in the biofuel sector.