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Biofuels

India Proposes National Policy On Biofuels

Air pollution is finally being recognised as a major environmental problem in India, and transportation has been identified as a major contributor. To address this problem, the Indian government is planning to boost the use of biofuels in transport fuels.

The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy has proposed a national biofuels policy with a target of 20% blending of transportation fuels — diesel and petrol (gasoline) — with bio-diesel and bio-ethanol by 2017. While a blending target for bio-ethanol has been in effect since 2008, a fresh recommendation has been issued for bio-diesel.

The government proposes to encourage farmers and landless labourers to plant non-edible oil seeds to boost the production of bio-diesel and bio-ethanol. The agricultural produce shall be procured by public or private processing entities through the Minimum Support Price mechanism.

The government looks to solve several problems in the environment, agriculture, and economic domain. Apart from curbing air pollution from the transportation sector, the government plans to increase employment opportunities for farmers, especially the ones with little financial means. A boost in bio-ethanol will be a lifeline for the desperate sugar industry.

To expedite the proliferation of bio-diesel and bio-ethanol across the country, the government will enhance the incentives for processing and production activities. Foreign investment in the sector would also be encouraged.

The Motors Vehicles Act already allows “conversion of an existing engine of a vehicle to use biofuels.” Engine manufacturers will be required to make the necessary changes to the engines to ensure compatibility with biofuels.

 
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Written By

Smiti works as a senior solar engineer at a reputed engineering and management consultancy. She has conducted due diligence of several solar PV projects in India and Southeast Asia. She has keen interest in renewable energy, green buildings, environmental sustainability, and biofuels. She currently resides in New Delhi, India.

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