Bio Energy

 National Policy on Biofuels

Salient Features -

  • An indicative target of 20% blending of biofuels both for biodiesel and bioethanol by 2017

  • Biodiesel production from non-edible oilseeds on waste, degraded and marginal lands to be encouraged

  • A Minimum Support Price (MSP) to be announced for farmers producing non-edible oilseeds used to produce biodiesel

  • Financial incentives for new and second generation biofuels, including a National Biofuel Fund

  • Setting up a National Biofuel Coordination Committee under the Prime Minister for a broader policy perspective

  • Setting up a Biofuel Steering Committee under the Cabinet Secretary to oversee policy implementation

  • Several ministries are involved in the promotion, development and policy making for the biofuel sector

  • The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is the overall policymaker, promoting the development of biofuels as well as undertaking research and technology development for its production

  • The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas is responsible for marketing biofuels and developing and implementing a pricing and procurement policy

  • The Ministry of Agriculture’s role is that of promoting research and development for the production of biofuel feedstock crops

  • The Ministry of Rural Development is specially tasked to promote Jatropha plantations on wastelands

  • The Ministry of Science & Technology supports research in biofuel crops, specifically in the area of biotechnology

Recent Developments -

The Union Cabinet has approved the following decisions related to Bio-ethanol and Biodiesel for implementation of National Policy on Biofuels;

  • Sugarcane or sugarcane juice may not be used for production of ethanol and it be produced only from molasses

  • Ethanol produced from other non-food feed-stocks besides molasses like cellulosic and lignocellulosic materials and including petrochemical route, may be allowed to be procured subject to meeting the relevant BIS standards

  • The MS and HSD control order dated 19.12.2005 may be suitably amended to acknowledge private biodiesel manufacturers, their authorized dealers and JVs of OMCs authorized by Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG) as Dealers and give Marketing / distribution functions to them for the limited purpose of supply of bio-diesel to consumers. The supply will be made as per quality standards applicable and prescribed by the MoPNG

  • Relaxation in Marketing resolution No.P-23015/1/20001-Mkt.dated 08.03.2002 and a new clause be added to give marketing rights for B100 to the Private biodiesel Manufacturers, their authorised dealers and JVs of OMCs authorised by MoPNG for direct sales to consumers

  • The price of bio-diesel will be market determined

First Generation Biofuels -

'First-generation biofuels' are biofuels made from sugar, starch, vegetable oil or animal fats using conventional technology. The basic feedstock's for the production of first generation biofuels are often seeds or grains such as sunflower seeds, corn or soybeans which are pressed to yield vegetable oil that can be used for producing biodiesel. These feedstock's could instead enter the animal or human food chain, and as the global population has risen their use in producing biofuels has been criticised for diverting food away from the human food chain, leading to food shortages and price rises.

Second Generation Biofuels -

Second-generation biofuels use non-food crops as the feedstock, these include waste biomass, the stalks of wheat, corn, wood, and special-energy-or-biomass crops (e.g. Miscanthus). Second generation (2G) biofuels use biomass to liquid technology, including cellulosic biofuels. Many second generation biofuels are under development such as biohydrogen, biomethanol, DMF, Bio-DME, Fischer-Tropsch diesel, biohydrogen diesel, mixed alcohols and wood diesel. Cellulosic ethanol production uses non-food crops or inedible waste products and does not divert food away from the animal or human food chain. Lignocellulose is the "woody" structural material of plants. This feedstock is abundant and diverse, and in some cases (like citrus peels or sawdust) it is in itself a significant disposal problem.

Third Generation Biofuels  -

Algae fuel, also called oilgae or third generation biofuel, is a biofuel from algae. Algae are low-input, high-yield feedstock's to produce biofuels. Based on laboratory experiments, it is claimed that algae can produce up to 30 times more energy per acre than land crops such as soybeans, but these yields have yet to be produced commercially. With the higher prices of fossil fuels (petroleum), there is much interest in algaculture (farming algae). One advantage of many biofuels over most other fuel types is that they are biodegradable, and so relatively harmless to the environment if spilled. Algae fuel still has its difficulties though, for instance to produce algae fuels it must be mixed uniformly, which, if done by agitation, could affect biomass growth.

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