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Development of Biofuels

Context: India, during its Presidency of G20, is emphasizing on International Collaboration for energy security and enhanced development of emerging fuels like biofuel and hydrogen.

What are Biofuels?

  • Any hydrocarbon fuel that is produced from an organic matter in a short period is considered a biofuel.
  • They may be solid, such as fuelwood, charcoal and wood pellets; liquid, such as bioethanol and biodiesel; or gaseous, such as biogas.
  • Key drivers: Rising oil prices, greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels and agricultural income diversification are some of the key drivers of the switch to biofuels.
  • Categories of biofuels:

Government Initiatives for the Development of Biofuels in India

  • National Policy on Biofuels, 2018: It was notified by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas in 2018.
  • Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) programme: It seeks to achieve blending of Ethanol with Petrol with a view to reduce pollution, conserve foreign exchange and increase value addition in the sugar industry.
    • Recently, the union government advanced the target of making petrol with 20 per cent ethanol by five years to 2025.
    • In the last seven-eight years, the country has saved Rs 50,000 crore in forex outflows by blending ethanol with petrol.
  • Mission Integrated Bio-refineries: The Mission is Co-led by India and the Netherlands and announced during the UNFCCC’s COP26 at Glasgow.
    • Integrated biorefineries employ combinations of feedstock and conversion technologies to create a variety of co-products and biofuels.
  • The 2019 Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN (Jaiv Indhan – Vatavaran Anukool fasal awashesh Nivaran) Yojana: The program’s goals are to foster an environment for the development of business ventures and to advance R&D in the 2G ethanol market.
  • GOBAR (Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources) DHAN scheme, 2018: Launched under Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin), it focuses on managing and turning solid farm waste, like as animal dung, into compost, biogas, and bio-CNG, which helps keep villages clean and boosts the income of rural people.
  • Repurpose Used Cooking Oil (RUCO): RUCO launched by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) aims for an ecosystem that will enable the collection and conversion of used cooking oil to biodiesel.


  • India’s current ethanol production capacity stands at an approx. 900 crore liters per annum.
  • Currently, Ethanol makes up 10% of the petrol we use in our vehicles. It requires a 1,000 crore litre capacity to achieve the desired 20% ethanol blend in petrol by 2025.
  • As per a recent study sponsored by MNRE, the current availability of biomass in India is estimated at about 750 million metric tonnes per year.


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