To check the rise of harmful emissions, the Indian government is working at a fast pace to increase the usage of biofuels. After approving the National Policy on Biofuels in 2018, the government has also begun a program to provide financial support to bioethanol manufacturers in India.
The Bharat Stage (BS) Emission Standards were introduced by the government of India to regulate the emission of air pollutants from motor vehicles. BS-VI norms are two stages ahead of the BS-IV norms in regulating emissions similar to the criteria in Europe called Euro 4 and Euro 6. Compliance with BS-VI norms would require superior technology and investment to upgrade existing vehicles and also manufacturing new vehicles.
Responding to questions regarding the formulation of policies to increase the use of biomass, specifically surplus agricultural residue for harnessing biofuels, the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan, said in Lok Sabha, “The National Policy on Biofuels-2018 had been notified by the government in June 2018. In March 2019, the government notified the Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN (Jaiv Indhan- Vatavaran Anukool fasal awashesh Nivaran) Yojana for providing financial support (viability gap funding) to integrated bioethanol projects using lignocellulosic biomass and other renewable feedstock to set up the second generation ethanol projects across the country.”
According to Pradhan, “The use of damaged and surplus food grains for the production of ethanol will increase its availability for Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) program. During the ethanol supply year 2017-18, 1.505 billion liters of ethanol was blended in petrol which resulted in foreign exchange impact of about ₹50.70 billion (~$0.73 billion) and carbon emissions were reduced to the extent of 2.994 million tons.”
Pradhan also informed the Lok Sabha members that the National Policy on Biofuels-2018 approved by the government has an indicative target of 20% blending of ethanol in petrol and 5% blending of biodiesel in diesel by 2030.
According to Pradhan, “Under ethanol blended petrol (EBP) program, ethanol blending in petrol is being undertaken by the oil marketing companies in the whole country except the union territory of Andaman and, Nicobar and Lakshadweep where OMCs blend up to 10% ethanol in petrol under the EBP program.
The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has also issued the guidelines for the sale of biodiesel for blending with high-speed diesel for transportation purposes. Pradhan added that the government has decided to leapfrog directly to BS-VI quality with effect from April 1, 2020, across the entire country.
Considering the rise in the environmental pollution in the national capital region (NCR), the government has started the supply of BS-VI auto fuel in the national capital territory of Delhi from April 1, 2018. In line with the directions issued by the Ministry of Petroleum, the supply of BS-VI auto fuel has started in 10 districts of NCR and three other cities outside of NCR (Karauli, Dhaulpur, and the city of Agra) with effect from April 1, 2019.
Last year, the first biofuel-based flight in India completed its journey from Dehradun to Delhi. India-based flight operator SpiceJet operated the test flight powered by biojet fuel, marking a new chapter in the fast-growing domestic aviation sector.
Then, at the 2019 Republic Day celebrations, the Indian Air Force led the way towards a greener future by utilizing biofuel for its aircraft during the fly-past ceremony.
Saumy is a senior staff reporter with MercomIndia.com covering business and energy news since 2016. Prior to Mercom, Saumy was a copy editor at Thomson Reuters. Saumy earned his Bachelors Degree in Journalism & Mass Communication from the Manipal Institute of Communication at Manipal University. More articles from Saumy Prateek.