New Delhi: “There is a large potential of biofuel business in India to grow from present Rs 6500 crore to Rs 1 lakh crore in the next 10 years,” mentioned the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Mr Dharmendra Pradhan while speaking at the National Conference on the World Biofuel Day in New Delhi on August 10, 2016. He said that the Prime Minister has set a target of 10 percent import reduction in crude by 2022 and biofuels can play an important role in achieving the target. Shifting the fuel consumption profile to biofuels derived from domestic feed stocks would lead to decrease in this dependence on crude oil imports. He said in the last 2 years, lot of work has been done in Ethanol Blending Programme, biodiesel as well as using the biowaste for converting to energy but more needs to be done speedily. He said India’s energy consumption is increasing very fast and it has become the third largest consumer in the world.
Mr Dharmendra Pradhan said that the biofuel programme has the capacity to provide better remuneration for farmers, address environmental concerns, reduce dependence on imports and help in foreign exchange savings. The Petroleum Minister said the government is willing to provide conducive policy environment to support development of biofuel but import of raw material or waste for this purpose cannot be allowed.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State (I/C) for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines, Mr Piyush Goyal called for organizing an International competition, under the aegis of the MoPNG, MNRE and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), and invite stakeholders from all around the World to brainstorm and devise innovative technologies and novel ideas to integrate the use of bio-fuels in the lives of the common man. Mr Goyal said speed, skill and scale are important for success of any programme and they should be included in the biofuel programme also. He further added that biofuels are closely linked to increasing the quality of life of the common man as they would provide a sustainable way to convert human generated wastes to energy and reduce pollution as well. The Minister pointed out that a major challenge that faces the sector is the sustainable availability of feedstock for the bio-fuel generation plants.
On the occasion of World Biofuel Day, National Conference on ‘Energy Security for India – Creating a Bio-fuel Economy’ was organized. The World Bio-fuel Day is celebrated every year to commemorate the anniversary of the successful working of a diesel engine, run on peanut oil, by German innovator Rudolf Diesel in 1893. The National conference brought together stakeholders of the Bio-fuel sector viz., the Government, Public Sector Undertakings and the Private Sector.
Investment announcements were made by Private Equity and Public Sector Oil Marketing Companies. IOC, BPC, HPC and NRL have identified 10 locations for setting up 2G ethanol plants with an estimated investment of Rs 5000 crore. Private players like CMC Bio-refineries, Praj Industries Ltd., Munzer, Novozymes and Shell have also announced an investment of Rs 5000 crore in the field of Bio-fuels in India.
The conference aimed at accelerating the bio-fuel programme in the country and draw up a road map to reduce the consumption of fossils fuels by replacing it with locally produced bio fuels thus reducing the foreign exchange out flow, generate rural employment and protect environment.
India has taken several initiatives in the field of bio fuels in the last two years. Several policy interventions and clearing of many hurdles in implementation of National blending targets have been under taken by Government of India. Ministry of Petroleum Natural gas has given a big push for the Ethanol blending program and is close to achieving 4% blending during the current sugar year. The bio diesel blending program which was started a year ago on 10 August 2015 as a pilot in 5 cities has now been extended to 6 states and Bio- diesel blended diesel is sold through nearly 2200 retail outlets in the country. The Government has also allowed production of ethanol from alternate routes.