Biofuel Policy

Mar, 02, 2019

Cabinet approves Petroleum Ministry joining of IEA Bioenergy TCP

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: IEA Bioenergy TCP

Mains level: Various initiatives for waste to energy conversions


News

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the joining of Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas to International Energy Agency’s Bioenergy Technology Collaboration Programme as its 25th member.
  • The other members are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, the US, and the EU.

Harnessing bioenergy sources

  • Bioenergy is renewable energy made available from materials derived from biological sources.
  • Biomass is any organic material which has stored sunlight in the form of chemical energy.
  • As a fuel it may include wood, wood waste, straw, and other crop residues, manure, sugarcane, and many other by-products from a variety of agricultural processes.

About the TCP

  • Bioenergy TCP is an international platform for co-operation among countries with the aim of improving cooperation and information exchange between countries that have national programmes in bioenergy research, development and deployment.
  • IEA Bioenergy TCP works under the framework of International Energy Agency (IEA) to which India has “Association” status since 30 March 2017.

Why join the TCP?

  • The primary goal of joining is to facilitate the market introduction of advanced biofuels with an aim to bring down emissions and reduce crude imports.
  • Benefits of participation in TCP are shared costs and pooled technical resources.
  • It also provides a platform for policy analysis with a focus on overcoming the environmental, institutional, technological, social, ‘and market barriers to the near-and long-term deployment of bioenergy technologies.

Tasks under TCP

  • The R&D work in IEA Bioenergy TCP is carried out carried out within well-defined 3-years programmes called “Tasks”.
  • Each year the progress of the Tasks is evaluated and scrutinized and each 3 years the content of the Tasks is reformulated and new Tasks can be initiated.
  • Technical persons from Public sector Oil Marketing companies will also be contributor in the Tasks participated by MoP&NG.

General Benefits

  • The benefits of participation in IEA Bioenergy TCP are shared costs and pooled technical resources.
  • The duplication of efforts is avoided and national Research and Development capabilities are strengthened.
  • There is an information exchange about best practices, network of researchers and linking research with practical implementation.

Benefits for India

  • Engagement with International Agencies will also apprise the Ministry of the developments taking place Worldwide in Biofuel sector, provide opportunity of personal interaction with innovators/ Researchers and help in bringing suitable policy ecosystem.
  • In addition, after becoming member, India can participate in other related Tasks focussing on Biogas, Solid waste Management, Biorefining etc. which could be participated by relevant Ministries/ Departments/ Organizations of the Country.
Mar, 01, 2019

[pib] Pradhan Mantri Jl-VAN Yojana

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: PM JIVAN Yojana

Mains level: Aim and particulars of the Scheme


News

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN (Jaiv Indhan- Vatavaran Anukool fasal awashesh Nivaran) Yojana.
  • It aims for providing financial support to Integrated Bio-ethanol Projects using lignocellulosic biomass and other renewable feedstock.

PM JI-VAN Scheme

  • Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas has targeted to achieve 10% blending percentage of Ethanol in petrol by 2022.
  • Therefore, an alternate route viz. Second Generation (2G) Ethanol from biomass and other wastes is being explored by MoP&NG to bridge the supply gap for EBP programme.
  • The PM JI-VAN Yojana is being launched as a tool to create 2G Ethanol capacity in the country and attract investments in this new sector.
  • Centre for High Technology (CHT), a technical body under the aegis of MoP&NG, will be the implementation Agency for the scheme.
  • The policy allows procurement of ethanol produced from molasses and non-food feed stock like celluloses and lignocelluloses material including petrochemical route.

Features of the Scheme

  1. The scheme focuses to incentivise 2G Ethanol sector and support this nascent industry by creating a suitable ecosystem for setting up commercial projects and increasing Research & Development in this area.
  2. The ethanol produced by the scheme beneficiaries will be mandatorily supplied to Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) to further enhance the blending percentage under EBP Programme.
  3. Apart from supplementing the targets envisaged by the Government under EBP programme, the scheme will also have the following benefits:
  • Meeting Government of India vision of reducing import dependence by way of substituting fossil fuels with Biofuels.
  • Achieving the GHG emissions reduction targets through progressive blending/ substitution of fossil fuels.
  • Addressing environment concerns caused due to burning of biomass/ crop residues & improve health of citizens.
  • Improving farmer income by providing them remunerative income for their otherwise waste agriculture residues.
  • Creating rural & urban employment opportunities in 2G Ethanol projects and Biomass supply chain.
  • Contributing to Swacch Bharat Mission by supporting the aggregation of non­food biofuel feedstocks such as waste biomass and urban waste.
  • Indigenizing of Second Generation Biomass to Ethanol technologies.

Implementation

  1. The JI-VAN Yojana will be supported with total financial outlay of Rs.1969.50 crore for the period from 2018-19 to 2023-24.
  2. Under this project, 12 Commercial Scale and 10 demonstration scale Second Generation (2G) ethanol Projects will be provided a Viability Gap Funding (VGF) support in two phases:
  • Phase-I  (2018-19  to  2022-23)
  • Phase-II (2020-21 to 2023-24)

Back2Basics

Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme

  1. Government of India launched Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) programme in 2003 for undertaking blending of ethanol in Petrol.
  2. It aimed to address environmental concerns due to fossil fuel burning, provide remuneration to farmers, subsidize crude imports and achieve forex savings.
  3. Presently, EBP is being run in 21 States and 4 UTs of the country.
  4. Under EBP programme, OMCs are to blend upto 10% of ethanol in Petrol.
Feb, 25, 2019

Used Cooking oil as aviation fuel

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: RUCO Initiative

Mains level: Harnessing edible oils for biofuel production


News

  • Our household used cooking oil could help fly a jet in the near future.
  • Scientists have successfully tested the conversion of used edible oil into Bio-ATF
  • The CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum is looking for partners to commercialise the technology.

Cooking Oil as Bio-ATF

  • The Dehradun-based Indian Institute of Petroleum has successfully finished a pilot test to convert used cooking oil into bio-aviation turbine fuel (Bio-ATF).
  • The used cooking oil can be blended with conventional ATF and used as aircraft fuel.
  • The Institute collected used cooking oil from caterers and hotels in Dehradun for the pilot, which has now set the platform for commercial use of the technology.
  • The chemical composition of the used cooking oil is identical to other plant-based oils that have been converted to Bio-ATF.

Up for a fight test

  • The Bio-ATF derived from used cooking oil is yet to be tested on a flight.
  • The pilot test has proven that it is very similar to Bio-ATF derived from Jatropha oil.
  • A large quantity of Bio-ATF is needed for testing on an actual flight.

On lines with RUCO

  • The test assumes importance as the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has launched the Repurpose Cooking Oil (RUCO) initiative to collect and convert used cooking oil into bio-fuel.
  • As many as 64 companies in 101 locations across the country have been identified for the purpose by FSSAI.
  • The food safety body says that by 2020, it should be possible to recover about 220 crore litres of used cooking oil for conversion into bio-fuel.

Back2Basics

RUCO Initiative

FSSAI unveils initiative to collect, convert used cooking oil into biofuel

Jan, 25, 2019

[pib] Bio-Jet fuel for Military Aircraft

Note4students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: CELIMAC

Mains level: Uses of bio-fuels


News

  • After months of exhaustive ground and flight trials, the indigenous produced bio-fuel has been finally cleared for use by the premier airworthiness certification agency of the country.

 Bio-Jet Fuel for Military Aircrafts

  1. The Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC) conducted various checks and tests conducted on bio-jet.
  2. It has formally granted its approval for use of this fuel, produced from non-conventional source i.e. non-edible vegetable/ tree borne oil to be used on military aircraft.
  3. The bio-jet fuel has been produced from seeds of Jatropha plant sourced from Chhattisgarh and processed at CSIR-IIP’s lab at Dehradun.
  4. This approval enables the IAF to fulfil its commitment to fly the maiden IAF An-32 aircraft with a blend of bio-jet fuel.

 Role of CEMILAC

  1. Any hardware or software which is to be used on Indian military aircraft, including those operated by Indian Navy or Army has to be cleared for use by CEMILAC before being inducted for regular use.
  2. This clearance is a major step for continued testing and eventual full certification of the bio-jet fuel for use on a commercial scale by civil aircraft as well.

Why it is important?

  1. Increased demand of bio-jet fuel would give impetus to increase in collection of tree-borne non-edible oil seeds.
  2. It will help generate ancillary income, increase remuneration for tribal and marginal farmers, and enthuse cultivation/ collection of oilseeds.
Nov, 10, 2018

[pib] India joining as member of Advanced Motor Fuels Technology Collaboration Programme

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: AMF TCP

Mains level: International collaboration for alterative cleaner energy sources.


News

  • The Union Cabinet has been apprised of India joining as Member of Advanced Motor Fuels Technology Collaboration Programme (AMF TCP) under International Energy Agency (IEA).

Advanced Motor Fuels Technology Collaboration Programme

  1. AMF TCP is an international platform under the framework of International Energy Agency (IEA) for co-operation among countries to promote cleaner and more energy efficient fuels & vehicle technologies.
  2. The activities of AMF TCP are deployment and dissemination of Advanced Motor Fuels.
  3. It looks upon the transport fuel issues in a systemic way taking into account the production, distribution and end use related aspects.
  4. The primary goal of joining AMF TCP by India to bring down emissions and achieve higher fuel efficiency in transport sector.
  5. AMF TCP also provides an opportunity for fuel analysis, identifying new/ alternate fuels for deployment in transport sector and allied R&D activities for reduction in emissions in fuel intensive sectors.

India and Other Members

  1. AMF TCP works under the framework of International Energy Agency (IEA) to which India has “Association” status since 2017.
  2. Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas has joined AMF TCP as its 16th member in May, 2018.
  3. The other member Countries of AMF TCP are USA, China, Japan, Canada, Chile, Israel, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Spain, Republic of Korea, Switzerland and Thailand.

Working of AMF TCP

  1. The R&D work in AMF TCP is carried out within individual projects called “Annex”.
  2. Over the years, more than 50 Annexes have been initiated in AMF TCP.
  3. A number of fuels have been covered in previous Annexes such as reformulated fuels (gasoline & diesel), biofuels (ethanol, biodiesel etc.), synthetic fuels (methanol, Fischer- Tropsch, DME etc.) and gaseous fuels.

India’s vision for Cleaner Fuel

  1. Our PM at UrjaSangam, 2015 had directed to reduce the import in energy sector by at least 10% by 2022.
  2. Subsequently, National Policy on Biofuels-2018 was notified which focuses on giving impetus to R&D in field of advanced biofuels such as 2G Ethanol, Bio-CNG, bio-methanol, Drop-in fuels, DME etc.

Implications for India

  1. India’s association with AMF TCP will help in furthering its efforts in identification & deployment of suitable fuels for transport sector for higher efficiency and lesser emissions.
  2. The benefits of participation in AMF TCP are shared costs and pooled technical resources.
  3. The duplication of efforts is avoided and national Research and Development capabilities are strengthened.
  4. There is an information exchange about best practices, network of researchers and linking research with practical implementation.
  5. After becoming member, India will initiate R&D in other areas of its interest in advanced biofuels and other motor fuels in view of their crucial role in substituting fossil fuel imports.
Oct, 06, 2018

[pib] Launch of Methanol Cooking Fuel Program of India

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Methanol Cooking Fuel Program

Mains level: Various initiatives for cleaner cooking fuel.


News

Methanol Cooking Fuel Program

  1. Northeast and Assam Petro-chemicals, a state-owned company is launching Asia’s first cannisters based and India’s first “Methanol Cooking Fuel Program”.
  2. 500 households inside the Assam Petro Complex will be the first pilot project, scaling it to 40,000 households in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Telangana, Goa and Karnataka.
  3. Assam Petrochemicals Limited has been manufacturing methanol for the last 30 years and is in the process of upgrading their 100 TPD methanol plant to 600 TPD by Dec 2019.
  4. The safe handling cannister based cooking stoves are from Swedish Technology and through a Technology transfer a large-scale cooking stove manufacturing plant will come up in India.
  5. In the next 18 months it will be producing 10 lakh Cook stoves and 1 Crore Cannisters per year.

Benefits of the Fuel

  1. This technology is very unique as it handles methanol extremely safely, does not need regulator or any piping system.
  2. The cooking medium can directly substitute LPG, Kerosene, Wood, Charcoal and any other fuel for cooking.
  3. The gaseous form, Methanol – DME, can be blended in 20% ratio with LPG.
  4. 2 litres cannisters can last for full five hours on twin burners and 8 such Cannisters as rack can last for one month for a family of three.

Fueling the North East

  1. The cost of energy equivalent of one cylinder of LPG for Methanol is Rs. 650, compared to Rs. 850 per cylinder resulting in a minimum of 20% Savings.
  2. For instance, in Manipur the cost of transportation of LPG is Rs. 200, whereas same cost for Methanol will be Rs. 12.
  3. This provides for an excellent alternative as household fuel and commercial, institutional and fuel for restaurants.
Sep, 29, 2018

[pib] SATAT Initiative

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: SATAT initiative

Mains level: Promoting Compressed Bio-Gas as an alternative transport fuel


News

Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT)

  1. Union Petroleum Minister has launched an innovative initiative to set up Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG) production plants and make available CBG in the market for use in automotive fuels.
  2. This move has the potential to boost availability of more affordable transport fuels, better use of agricultural residue, cattle dung and municipal solid waste, as well as to provide an additional revenue source to farmers.
  3. The initiative holds great promise for efficient municipal solid waste management and in tackling the problem of polluted urban air due to farm stubble-burning and carbon emissions.
  4. Use of CBG will also help bring down dependency on crude oil imports.

Benefits of the initiative

There are multiple benefits from converting agricultural residue, cattle dung and municipal solid waste into CBG on a commercial scale:

  • Responsible waste management, reduction in carbon emissions and pollution
  • Additional revenue source for farmers
  • Boost to entrepreneurship, rural economy and employment
  • Support to national commitments in achieving climate change goals
  • Reduction in import of natural gas and crude oil
  • Buffer against crude oil/gas price fluctuations
Sep, 04, 2018

[op-ed snap] Why ethanol blending in petrol might not work for India

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Food processing & related industries in India

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Biofuels, Crops from which biofuels can be generated

Mains level: India’s current biofuel policy and its unsustainability


Context

India’s ethanol blending plans

  1. It is being increasingly suggested that India should increase the use of biofuels to reduce dependence on oil imports
  2. Among biofuels, ethanol appears to be the most viable alternative, and the government intends to raise ethanol blending in petrol to 20% by 2030 from the current 2-3%

Why this is not a good idea

  1. Increasing the production of biofuels can strain India’s water resources and affect food availability
  2. Biofuels, such as jatropha, have often proven to be commercially unviable

Analysing water usage

  1. Water footprint, that is water required to produce a litre of ethanol, includes rainwater at the root zone used by ethanol-producing plants such as sugarcane, and surface, groundwater, and fresh water required to wash away pollutants
  2. India’s water footprint is not only high in overall terms, but India also uses more surface and groundwater than the US and Brazil
  3. India has the least internal surface and groundwater compared with both countries
  4. Most of our daily uses of water come from this source and therefore it needs to be used judiciously

Another major problem:  Land resources

  1. Sugarcane currently accounts for around 3% of India’s net sown area
  2. To raise the petrol-ethanol blend rate to even 10%, India will have to devote another 4% of its net sown area to sugarcane
  3. In order to achieve 20% blend rate, almost one-tenth of the existing net sown area will have to be diverted for sugarcane production
  4. Any such land requirement is likely to put a stress on other crops and has the potential to increase food prices

Biofuel policy mandate

  1. India’s biofuel policy stipulates that fuel requirements must not compete with food requirements and that only surplus food crops should be used for fuel production
  2. Producing ethanol from crop residue will be a good alternative but the annual capacity of required bio-refineries is stipulated to be 300-400 million litres, which is still not enough to meet the 5% petrol-ethanol blending requirement

Way Forward

  1. Increasing petrol-ethanol blending does not seem viable in the current scenario
  2. Concerted efforts need to be made to either increase sugarcane yield and decrease water usage through better irrigation practices, or increase the ethanol production capacity of bio-refineries
  3. Trying to increase blending without these efforts can encroach upon land and water available for food production
Aug, 28, 2018

[pib] India’s first biofuel powered flight undertakes maiden voyage

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Achievements of Indians in science & technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Biofuel, Jatropha plant

Mains level: Decreasing demand for crude oil & potential of biofuels


News

Biofuel-powered flight

  1. A historic flight powered by indigenously produced aviation biofuel based on the patented technology of CSIR-IIP Dehradun was flagged off from Dehradun airport
  2. The Spicejet flight, featuring a latest generation Q400 aircraft powered by biofuel was received at Delhi airport
  3. With this maiden flight, India joins the exclusive club of nations using biofuel in aviation

About the project

  1. The genesis of this development goes back several years to an Indo-Canadian consortium project from 2010 to 2013 involving CSIR-IIP, Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum, IIT Kanpur and IISc Bangalore
  2. In this project, research was directed towards the production of Bio-aviation fuel by CSIR-IIP from jatropha oil and its evaluation under various conditions, culminating in a detailed engine test by Pratt and Whitney in Canada that showed fitness for purpose

Benefits of biofuel

  1. The use of bio jet fuel will help in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by about 15 percent and sulfur oxides (SOx) emissions by over 99 percent
  2. It is expected to provide:
  • indigenous jet fuel supply security
  • possible cost savings as feedstock availability at farm level scales up
  • superior engine performance
  • reduced maintenance cost for the airline operators
Aug, 17, 2018

FSSAI unveils initiative to collect, convert used cooking oil into biofuel

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: RUCO

Mains level: Harnessing edible oils for biofuel production


News

Repurpose Used Cooking Oil (RUCO)

  1. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) launched RUCO (Repurpose Used Cooking Oil), an initiative that will enable collection and conversion of used cooking oil to bio-diesel.
  2. The initiative has been launched nearly a month after the food safety regulator notified standards for used cooking oil.
  3. FSSAI may also look at introducing regulations to ensure that companies that use large quantities of cooking oil hand it over to registered collecting agencies to convert it into biofuel.
  4. Under this initiative, 64 companies at 101 locations have been identified to enable collection of used cooking oil.
  5. For instance: McDonald’s has already started converting used cooking oil to biodiesel from 100 outlets in Mumbai and Pune.

Cooking Oil can be harnessed as biofuel

  1. The regulator believes India has the potential to recover 220 crore litres of used cooking oil for the production of biodiesel by 2022 through a co-ordinate action.
  2. While biodiesel produced from used cooking oil is currently very small, but a robust ecosystem for conversion and collection is rapidly growing in India and will soon reach a sizable scale.
  3. FSSAI wants businesses using more than 100 litres of oil for frying, to maintain a stock register and ensure that UCO is handed over to only registered collecting agencies.
  4. According to FSSAI regulations, the maximum permissible limits for Total Polar Compounds (TPC) have been set at 25 per cent, beyond which the cooking oil is unsafe for consumption.

Collaborating with private players

  1. FSSAI is also working in partnership with Biodiesel Association of India and the food industry to ensure effective compliance of used cooking oil regulations.
  2. It is also going to publish guidance documents, tips for consumers and posters in this regard.
  3. It is also conducting several awareness campaigns through its e-channels.
  4. FSSAI has additionally launched a micro-site to monitor the progress of the collection and conversion of used cooking oil into biodiesel.
Aug, 09, 2018

[pib] World Biofuel Day, 2018 to be observed on 10th August

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: World Biofuel Day

Mains level: The newscard summarizes various initiatives by government to reduce dependence of fossil fuels.


News

World Biofuel Day

  1. It is observed every year on 10th August to create awareness about the importance of non-fossil fuels as an alternative to conventional fossil fuels.
  2. It is also aimed to highlight the various efforts made by the Government in the biofuel sector.
  3. It is being observed by the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas for the last three years.

Focus on Biofuel generation

  1. Biofuels have the benefits of reducing import dependency on crude oil, cleaner environment, and additional income to farmers and employment generation in rural areas.
  2. The biofuels programme is also in synergy with the Government of India initiatives for Make in India, Swachh Bharat and enhancing farmers’ income.
  3. The interventions include administrative price mechanism for ethanol, simplifying the procurement procedures of OMCs, amending the provisions of Industries (Development & Regulation) Act, 1951 and enabling lignocellulosic route for ethanol procurement.

Outcomes of Bio-fuel Programme

  1. Ethanol blending in petrol has increased from 38 crore litres in the ethanol supply year 2013-14 to an estimated 141 crore litres in the ethanol supply year 2017-18.
  2. Oil PSUs are also planning to set up 12 Second Generation (2G) Bio-refineries to augment ethanol supply and address environmental issues arising out of burning of agricultural biomass.

National Policy on Biofuels-2018

  1. The policy has the objective of reaching 20% ethanol-blending and 5% biodiesel-blending by the year 2030.
  2. The policy expands the scope of feedstock for ethanol production and has provided for incentives for production of advanced biofuels.

Other initiatives

  1. Recently the Government has increased the price of C-heavy molasses-based ethanol to Rs. 43.70 from Rs. 40.85 to give a boost to EBP Programme.
  2. Price of B-heavy molasses-based ethanol and sugarcane juice-based ethanol has been fixed for the first time at Rs. 47.40.
  3. The Government has reduced GST on ethanol for blending in fuel from 18% to 5%.
Aug, 01, 2018

Rajasthan first State to implement biofuel policy

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the National Policy on Biofuels

Mains level: Read the attached story.


News

With emphasis on increasing production of oilseeds

  1. Rajasthan has become the first State in the country to implement the national policy on biofuels unveiled by the Centre in May this year.
  2. It will lay emphasis on increasing production of oilseeds and establish a Centre for Excellence in Udaipur to promote research in the fields of alternative fuels and energy resources.
  3. A biodiesel plant of the capacity of 8 tonnes a day has already been installed in the State with the financial assistance of the Indian Railways.
  4. The State government would promote marketing of biofuels and generate awareness about them.
  5. The Minister said the State Rural Livelihood Development Council would also encourage women’s self help groups to explore the scope for additional income through the supply of biodiesel.

Back2Basics

National Biofuels Policy, 2018

  1. The Union Cabinet approved a national policy on biofuels that seeks to not only help farmers dispose of their surplus stock in an economic manner but also reduce India’s oil-import dependence.
  2. The policy expands the scope of raw material for ethanol production by allowing the use of sugarcane juice, sugar-containing materials like sugar beet, sweet sorghum, starch-containing materials like corn, cassava, damaged food grains like wheat, broken rice, rotten potatoes that are unfit for human consumption for ethanol production.
  3. The policy also provides for a viability gap funding scheme of ₹5,000 crore in six years for second generation (more advanced) ethanol bio-refineries in addition to tax incentives and a higher purchase price as compared to first-generation biofuels.
  4. Farmers are at a risk of not getting appropriate price for their produce during the surplus production phase.
  5. Taking this into account, the policy allows use of surplus food grains for production of ethanol for blending with petrol with the approval of National Biofuel Coordination Committee.
Jul, 26, 2018

[pib] National Policy on Bio-Fuels-2018

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Read the attached story

Mains level: Aim and particulars of the National Policy on Biofuels.


News

Context: Union Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas has notified the National Policy on Biofuels-2018.

Aim: Ensuring adequate and sustained availability of domestic feedstock for biofuel production, increasing Farmers Income, Import Reduction, Employment Generation and Waste to Wealth Creation,

Provisions of the Policy

  1. The policy categorizes biofuels as “Basic Biofuels” such as bio ethanol & biodiesel and “Advanced Biofuels” such as Second Generation (2G) ethanol, bio-CNG, Third Generation Biofuels, etc. to enable extension of appropriate financial and fiscal incentives under each category.
  2. It also includes promotion of advanced biofuels through various incentives, off-take assurance and viability gap funding.

Damaged and Surplus foodgrains to be utilised

  1. With an objective of increasing production of ethanol, this Policy allows production of ethanol from damaged food grains like wheat, broken rice etc. which are unfit for human consumption.
  2. Additionally, during an agriculture crop year, when there is projected over supply of food grains as anticipated by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, the policy allows conversion of surplus quantities of food grains to ethanol, based on the approval of National Biofuel Coordination Committee.
  3. Use of damaged food grains and surplus food grains for production of ethanol will increase its availability for Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme.
  4. This will result in increasing the blending percentage, increasing farmer’s income, saving of foreign exchange and addressing environmental issues.
May, 30, 2018

[op-ed snap] Green push?: The new biofuels policy

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: What are bio-fuels? (read the attached story)

Mains level: Aim and particulars of the National Policy on Biofuels.


News

Context

  1. At a time when rising oil prices are putting increasing pressure on the economy, even small steps to encourage the use of biofuels are welcome

The Cabinet has recently approved a National Policy on Biofuels

  1. The policy encourages the generation and use of biofuels such as ethanol
  2. It primarily tries to address supply-side issues that have discouraged the production of biofuels within the country

Some important particulars of the new policy

  1. It allows for a wider variety of raw materials to be used as inputs to produce ethanol that is blended with petrol.
  2. Until now, only ethanol produced from sugarcane was approved for this purpose
  3. Under the new policy, feedstock for biofuels includes sugar beet, corn, damaged foodgrain, potatoes, even municipal solid waste
    Possible benefits
  4. This will likely reduce the cost of producing biofuels and improve affordability for consumers, particularly during times when oil prices reach discomforting levels

Effort made to counter availability issues

  1. In India, industrial-scale availability of ethanol so far has been only from sugar factories, which were free to divert it to other users such as alcohol producers, who would pay more
  2. The oil companies have been floating tenders for ethanol supply, but availability lags behind their needs, because the price is often not attractive enough for the sugar industry
  3. The Centre hopes the new policy will also benefit farmers, who will be able to sell various types of agricultural waste to industry at remunerative prices
  4. The production of biofuels from agricultural waste, it is hoped, will also help curb atmospheric pollution by giving farmers an incentive not to burn it
    (as is happening in large parts of northern India)

What should be done?

  1. There is also a need for caution in using surplus foodgrain to produce ethanol
  2. And while removing the shackles on raw material supply can have definite benefits,
  3. it cannot make a significant difference to biofuel production as long as the supply-chain infrastructure that is required to deliver biofuels to the final consumer remains inadequate
  4. To address this issue, the new policy envisages investment to the tune of Rs. 5,000 crore in building bio-refineries and offering other incentives over the next few years

The way forward

  1. The government should also take steps to remove policy barriers that have discouraged private investment in building supply chains
  2. Until that happens, India’s huge biofuel potential will continue to remain largely untapped
May, 17, 2018

Cabinet approves new biofuels policy

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Government policies

From UPSC perspectives, the following things are important

Prelims Level: Bio-Fuel Categorization, UNFCCC

Mains Level: Particulars of the Policy, India’s initiative towards reducing its carbon footprint


News

India’s Commitment to reducing its Carbon Footprint

  1. India, the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after the US and China, plans to reduce its carbon footprint by 33-35% from its 2005 levels by 2030
  2. This is being done as part of its commitments to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change adopted by 195 countries in Paris in 2015.

New Bio-Fuels Policy for Procurement of Raw Materials

  1. The Union Cabinet approved a national policy on biofuels that seeks to not only help farmers dispose of their surplus stock in an economic manner but also reduce India’s oil-import dependence.
  2. The policy expands the scope of raw material for ethanol production by allowing the use of sugarcane juice, sugar-containing materials like sugar beet, sweet sorghum, starch-containing materials like corn, cassava, damaged food grains like wheat, broken rice, rotten potatoes that are unfit for human consumption for ethanol production.
  3. The policy also provides for a viability gap funding scheme of ₹5,000 crore in six years for second generation (more advanced) ethanol bio-refineries in addition to tax incentives and a higher purchase price as compared to first-generation biofuels.

Helping Double the Farmer’s Income

  1. Farmers are at a risk of not getting appropriate price for their produce during the surplus production phase.
  2. Taking this into account, the policy allows use of surplus food grains for production of ethanol for blending with petrol with the approval of National Biofuel Coordination Committee

Categorization of Bio-Fuels

  1. The policy, which aims to provide financial and fiscal incentives specific to a biofuel type, categorized biofuels as first generation (1G), second generation (2G) and third-generation (3G) fuels
  2. The first generation category of biofuels includes bioethanol and biodiesel. The second generation comprises ethanol and municipal solid waste. The third generation includes bio-compressed natural gas (CNG)

Benefits of Biofuels

  1. One crore litres of E10 [petrol with 9-10% ethanol blended in it] saves ₹28 crore of forex at current rates
  2. The ethanol supply year 2017-18 is likely to see a supply of around 150 crore litres of ethanol which will result in savings of over ₹4,000 crore of forex.
  3. One crore litres of E10 reduces carbon dioxide emissions by about 20,000 tonnes
  4. For the ethanol supply year 2017-18, there will be lesser emissions of CO2 to the tune of 30 lakh tonnes
  5. By reducing crop burning and conversion of agricultural residues/wastes to biofuels there will be further reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
  6. The other benefits include a reduction in 62 million metric tonnes of municipal solid waste generated in the country, infrastructure investment in rural areas and job creation
Feb, 13, 2018

[op-ed snap] Biofuels: an opportunity for India

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: The article discusses the importance of biofuel, as a short-term solution against pollution. It also cites some other possible benefits of using biofuel in the transport sector.


News

Short-term solution to the current problem of pollution in the North India

  1. The short-term solution exists in the quick and scaled-out expansion of biofuel-powered public transport across the country

Government announcement to incentivize and go all-electric by 2030

  1. First, this is a very aggressive goal for a middle-income country like India and
  2. Second, even assuming that this were to happen, do we all need to suffer the ill-effects of pollution for another 12 years?
  3. India’s transport policy needs to prioritize renewable vehicular fuels for large transport
  4. e-mobility alone will not achieve the ambition of creating a sustainable transport sector

Solution: Biofuel

  1. A ready solution is available in the form of biofuel-driven buses, which can be easily deployed at a short notice for all public transport purposes
    Raw material for biofuel production
  2. We can use 170 million tonnes of agricultural waste out of the 800 million tonnes generated to be used for ethanol production in the current situation
  3. This could easily be ramped up to 250 million tonnes per year, to produce between 31-47 billion litres of ethanol by 2020
  4. 31-47 billion litres is a radical increase from the current production of 2 billion litres
    Solution to stubble burning
  5. This will lead to a huge reduction in stubble burning because of an economic incentive available to remove and give the crop waste to biofuel plants

Sewage treatment plants (STPs) can also contribute

  1. India generates around 70 billion litres of waste water every day
  2. By building biogas generation and upgrading facilities at the STP sites, the output can potentially substitute 350 million litres of diesel, 2.3 gigawatt hours of natural gas fired power and over 8 million LPG cylinders of 14.2kg each

Ongoing biofuel powered projects

  1. We have started with some encouraging pilots for biofuel-driven buses in cities like Nagpur
  2. In Nagpur, the government has allowed special purpose vehicles to own and operate these buses along with the plants and the depots required to fuel the buses

Possible benefit on employment front

  1. According to a study, the increase in ethanol production alone has the potential to create over 700,000 jobs when targeting only the base potentia
  2. States with a combination of high agricultural activity and large fuel consumption like Maharasthra, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh would be the best positioned to exploit this opportunity

Inspiration from other countries

  1. countries like Sweden and a developing country like Brazil have used ethanol in a big way to achieve their environmental and economic objectives

The way forward

  1. We need measures which are available today and at affordable costs
  2. This one measure of pushing for biofuel buses for public transport within a specific timeline like 2020, would help transform our public transport services, improve the health of our citizens, provide economic impetus and create jobs
  3. Surely a win-win proposition at a fraction of the cost associated with the subsidy-driven push being planned for E-mobility
Dec, 30, 2017

Govt plans to set up bio-CNG plants and allied infrastructure

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Bio-CNG

Mains level: India’s rising energy requirements and ways to ensure adequate availability


News

Promoting the use of clean fuel

  1. To promote the use of clean fuel, the oil ministry plans to set up bio-CNG (compressed natural gas) plants and allied infrastructure
  2. The oil ministry will be working with state-run oil and gas retailers to set up the plants over the next two years

Bio-CNG

  1. Bio-CNG is a purified form of biogas with over 95% pure methane gas
  2. It is similar to natural gas in its composition (97% methane) and energy potential
  3. While natural gas is a fossil fuel, bio-CNG is a renewable form of energy produced from agricultural and food waste
  4. A typical bio-CNG station comprises a biogas purification unit, a compressor, and a high-pressure storage system
  5. Bio-CNG is being looked at as an environment-friendly alternative to diesel

Plan to make India a gas-based economy

  1. The government’s plan is to make India a gas-based economy
  2. The government aims to increase the contribution of gas in India’s energy mix to 15% from the current 6.5%
  3. India currently imports one-third of its energy requirement
  4. The world’s third-largest crude oil importer is targeting halving its energy import bill by 2030
Dec, 28, 2017

[pib] Methanol Economy for India: Energy Security, Make in India and Zero Carbon foot print

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Green House Gas Emissions, Methanol, COP21

Mains level: India’s energy needs and alternative fuel options


News: 

  • India needs around 2900 cr litres of petrol and 9000 cr litres of diesel per year currently, the 6th highest consumer in the world and will double consumption and become 3rd largest consumer  by 2030
  • Hydrocarbon Fuels have also adversely affected the environment with Green House Gas Emissions (GHG).
  • India is the third highest energy-related carbon dioxide emitter country in the world
  • India aims to reduce the import bill by 10% by the year 2022
  • Crude oil imports drain our foreign exchange, putting enormous pressure on our currency & thereby weakening our bargaining power with the rest of the world
  • We need to have our own “Indian Fuel of global relevance”

Why Methanol?

  • Methanol is a clean burning drop in fuel which can replace both petrol & diesel in transportation & LPG, Wood, Kerosene in cooking fuel.
  • It can also replace diesel in Railways, Marine Sector, Gensets, Power Generation and Methanol based reformers could be the ideal complement to Hybrid and Electric Mobility
  • Methanol Economy is the “Bridge” to the dream of a complete “Hydrogen-based fuel systems”.

What Can India do?

  • India has an installed Methanol Production capacity of 2 MT per annum
  • As per the plan prepared by NITI Aayog, using Indian High Ash coal, Stranded gas, and Biomass India can produce 20MT of methanol annually by 2025

NITI Aayog’s roadmap for Methanol Economy comprises

  • Production of methanol from Indian high ash coal from indigenous Technology,  in Large quantities and adopting regional production strategies and produce Methanol in large quantities @ Rs. 19 a litre
  • India will adopt Co2 capturing technology to make the use of coal fully environment-friendly and our commitments to COP21
  • Bio-mass, Stranded Gas & MSW for methanol production. Almost 40% of Methanol Production can be through these feedstocks
  •  Utilization of methanol as well as DME in transportation – rail, road, marine and defence. Industrial Boilers, Diesel Gensets & Power generation & Mobile towers  are other applications
  •  Utilization of methanol and DME as domestic cooking fuel-cook stoves
  • Utilization of methanol in fuel cell applications in Marine, Gensets and Transportation

Methanol Benefits in

  • Transportation sector
  • Marine Sector
  • Railways
  • Methanol & DME in Cooking fuel program (Liquid fuel and LPG – DME blending program)

Way Forward

  • India by adopting Methanol can have its own indigenous fuel at the cost of approximately 19 Rs./litre
  • Methanol fuel can result in great environmental benefits and can be the answer to the burning Urban pollution issue
  • At least 20% diesel consumption can be reduced in next 5-7 years and will result in a savings of 26000 Crores annually
  • Make in India program will get a further boost by both producing fuels indigenously and the associated growth in automobile sector adding engineering jobs and also investments in Methanol based industries (FDI and Indian)
Sep, 27, 2017

[op-ed snap] From waste to health

source:

Note4Students

Mains Paper: 3| Environment: Pollution, Agriculture

Prelims: Incineration, composting, NGT

Mains level: The article can be tagged to GS 3 paper topic Environmental pollution. The article provides  important fodder  which could be utilized by an candidate while writing an answer to question related to Solid waste management


News

Context

This article talks about how city compost can help in making cities cleaner, increasing agricultural productivity and also replenishing nutrient depleted soil.

 Problems in Current solid waste management strategy

  1. Waste management to keep cities clean is also being given attention in Swach Bharat Abhiyan . But the attention begins and stops with the brooms and the dustbins. The collected mixed waste is transported not to distant places but just taken out of sight.
  2. The challenge of processing and treating the different streams of solid waste, and safe disposal of the residuals in scientific landfills, has received much less attention in municipal solid waste management.
  3. But, one of the major problem that comes in our endeavor to create clean cities is we focus on waste for energy rather our focus should be waste management for health.
  4. In process we opt for financially and environmentally expensive solutions such as incineration plants which are highly capital-intensive.
  5. While the National Green Tribunal (NGT) does not allow incineration of mixed waste, nor of any compostables or recyclables, enforcement is a challenge, and the danger to health from toxic emissions looms large.
  6. The biodegradable component of solid waste (close to 60 per cent of the total) should not be mixed with the dry waste rather it should be used for composting and biomethanation.
  7. The management of dry waste can be done through recycling and processing and incineration of non-recyclables can be done with appropriate filters to check emissions. The need for scientific landfills will be very less then.

 

Advantages of Compost

  1. It is an alternative to farmyard manure (like cowdung) which has been valued for its rich microbial content that helps plants to take up soil nutrients.
  2. It provides an opportunity to simultaneously clean up our cities and help improve agricultural productivity and quality of the soil.
  3. The water holding capacity of the soil increases and it also helps with drought-proofing.
  4. By making soil porous, use of compost also makes roots stronger and resistant to pests and decay.
  5. There is also evidence to suggest that horticulture crops grown with compost have better flavour, size, colour and shelf-life.
  6. Chemical fertilisers when used by themselves pollute surface water with nitrogen runoff because only 20 per cent to 50 per cent of the nitrogen in urea is absorbed by plants. The rest runs off into streams and lakes. The addition of compost or organic manure reduces nitrogen wastage, as its humus absorbs the nitrogen and acts like a slow release sponge.

 

Advantages of City Compost

  1. It is weed free.
  2. It is rich in organic carbon. Fortification of soil with organic carbon is an essential element of integrated plant nutrient management as it increases the productivity of other fertilisers.
  3. City compost can also be blended with rock phosphate to produce phosphate-rich organic manure.

 

Current Scenario

  1. Farmers recognize the advantages of compost and they dump reasonably biodegradable raw garbage onto their fields for making compost onsite for their own farm use.
  2. But, uncovered and uncomposted raw waste helps breed rats and insects which carry disease, and attract stray dogs which not only carry rabies but form hunting packs that kill nearby livestock at night. Also causing dog bites and traffic accidents.
  3. If city waste was composted before making it available to the farmers for applying to the soil, cities would be cleaned up and the fields around them would be much more productive.

Way Forward

  1. It requires that delivery mechanisms be set up for the delivery of city compost to farmers.
  2. The Supreme Court had directed fertiliser companies in 2006 to co-market compost with chemical fertilizers but it was largely unheeded.
  3. The Solid Waste Management Rules 2016 make the co-marketing of compost mandatory.
  4. The payment of fertiliser subsidy to the fertiliser companies can be made conditional on the co-marketing of compost.
  5. The state agricultural departments can also help facilitate the use of city compost through their widespread extension networks.
  6. Assuming that urban India generates 70 million tonnes of municipal solid waste in a year, and assuming 15 per cent yield of compost, this would provide 10 million tonnes of city compost annually.
  7. It can be a major and sustainable contribution to improving the health of our soil.

 

Aug, 11, 2016

Price determination for bio-fuels

  1. Fixed pricing: In December 2014, Govt fixed a price of ₹48.50 to ₹49.50 per litre for procurement of ethanol for blending in petrol
  2. Market pricing: However Govt emphasised on need to move away from the fixed price and move towards linking the price to market dynamics
  3. Why market based pricing? The fixed price is costlier than the cost of producing petrol
  4. Govt support: Ministry also assured the industry stakeholders all necessary policy support to biofuel manufacturers provided that the raw material or feedstock is procured in India
Aug, 11, 2016

By 2022, biofuel will become a ₹50,000-crore business

  1. News: The biofuel business in India is expected to touch ₹50,000 crore by 2022, based on the demand of petrol and diesel in the country
  2. Currently: The bio-diesel and ethanol industry in India is worth ₹6,000 crore, however, this is mainly driven by ethanol procurement
  3. Procurement prog: Bio-diesel procurement started only in 2014 and a pilot programme started in August 2015 & now it has been extended to six States
  4. The size of the biofuels industry can rise close to ₹1.25 lakh crore by 2040, if demand for petrol and diesel grows as per the International Energy Agency’s outlook
Jul, 06, 2016

Non-molasses based ethanol policy, coming soon

  1. The road ministry has proposed another policy for using resources other than molasses for producing ethanol
  2. Why? Shortage of molasses
  3. Ministries of renewable energy and science and technology will find a way to produce second-genration ethanol from biomass, bamboo, rice straw, wheat straw, and cotton straw, among others, to power vehicles
  4. Benefits: Ethanol production could cut the country’s crude oil import bill of about Rs 7 lakh crore per year
  5. Making ethanol from bamboo in the north-east can also create employment opportunities in the region
  6. Globally: This method is used in countries like China, South Africa, Spain etc for producing ethanol
Apr, 30, 2015

National Biomass CookStove Programme

  1. A scheme to make India’s rural kitchen smoke-free by using less biofuel in its improved biomass cookstove.
  2. Improved biomass cookstoves will be disseminated for domestic and community cooking applications on cost sharing basis.
  3. The Ministry has strengthened three test centres for carrying out performance testing.
Apr, 10, 2015

Algae as a future feed stock for bio-refineries

  1. Inefficient and unsustainable biofuels derived from food crops add to food security & CO2 emission issues.
  2. Algae are the most sustainable fuel resource in terms of food security and environmental issues.
  3. Further improvements with the biomass processing strategies may step up the third-generation biofuel concept. What’s that?
  4. 3rd Gen – made from algae or other quickly growing biomass sources.
Mar, 06, 2015

The Maize utility

  1. As a cereal, maize is used as ingredient in food preparation; it is feed for poultry and livestock.
  2. It is feedstock for biofuel (ethanol).
  3. It is used as raw material in distilleries.
  4. It is also used for starch production because of its high starch content (60%).

    Discuss: These 4 points are picked up from a Hindu Businessline article. And in 2014, UPSC tested on 3 of these 4 statements. 

Feb, 19, 2015

Know more on Jatropha Carcus

  1. It is an oil producing non-edible plant.
  2. Is a shrub which grows in Central America and parts of Asia
  3. Acts as a natural pain killer
  4. Used in generation of bio-diesel (Aviation fuel)

Discuss: Know more on the 4 categories of biofuels and their differences.

Feb, 02, 2015

The different generations of biofuels

  1. 1st – made from sugars, starches, oil, and animal fats.
  2. 2nd – made from non-food crops or agricultural waste, like switch-grass, willow, or wood chips.
  3. 3rd – made from algae or other quickly growing biomass sources.
  4. 4th –  made from specially engineered plants or biomass that may have higher energy yields – also a way of capturing and storing CO2 in return.
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