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National Policy on Biofuels, 2018 approved by the Central Government

16.05.2018

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister has approved National Policy on Biofuels, 2018. At present, only ethanol produced from sugarcane was allowed to be mixed in petrol. 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, when farmers are at a risk of not getting appropriate price for their produce during the surplus production phase. The conversion of surplus grains and agricultural biomass can help in price stabilization as well.

The Policy categorises biofuels as "Basic Biofuels" that is 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. The Policy indicates a viability gap funding scheme for 2G ethanol Bio refineries of Rs.5000 crore in 6 years in addition to additional tax incentives, higher purchase price as compared to 1G biofuels. The Policy encourages setting up of supply chain mechanisms for biodiesel production from non-edible oilseeds, Used Cooking Oil, short gestation crops. Further, its implementation would help in reducing import dependency of ethanol, municipal solid waste management and infrastructural investment in rural areas. By reducing crop burning & conversion of agricultural residues/wastes to biofuels, there will be further reduction in Green House Gas emissions and is helpful in cleaner environment. Prolonged reuse of Cooking Oil for preparing food, particularly in deep-frying is a potential health hazard and can lead to many diseases. Used Cooking Oil is a potential feedstock for biodiesel and its use for making biodiesel will prevent diversion of used cooking oil in the food industry.

Ministry of New and Renewable Energy introduced National Policy on Biofuels in the year 2009 for promoting biofuels across the country. Biofuels in India are of strategic significance as it promotes 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.

Tags : Policy Approval Biofuels

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