Cabinet approves amendments to National Biofuels Policy 2018

The cabinet on Wednesday approved amendments to the national biofuels policy that would expand the scope of raw materials for ethanol blends to allow more feedstock for its production, with the aim of advancing and promoting ethanol blends in petrol to 20 percent. It is under the Make in India program.

It seeks to add new members to the National Biofuel Coordinating Committee and to allow the export of biofuels in certain cases.

Until now, only ethanol produced from sugarcane was allowed to be mixed with petrol.

The existing national policy on biofuels came in 2018.

“The proposed amendment will pave the way for the Make in India drive, which will reduce imports of petroleum products by creating more biofuels,” the government said.

As more feedstocks are being allowed for biofuel production, it is hoped that this will promote a self-reliant India and promote the Prime Minister’s ‘energy independence’ by 2047.

Previously, the 2018 policy allowed the use of surplus food grains for ethanol production to be blended with gasoline, subject to approval by the National Biofuels Coordinating Committee.

Under the 2018 policy, a functional gap fund project of Rs 5,000 crore for 6G Ethanol Bio-Refinery in 6 years, in addition to additional tax incentives, was also given a higher purchase price than 1G biofuels.

The policy classifies biofuels as First Generation (1G), which produces bio-ethanol from molasses and bio-diesel from non-edible oilseeds.

Second generation (2G) ethanol can be made from municipal solid waste and third generation (3G) fuels like bio-CNG.

The policy came with a larger goal of 3 million tons less carbon emissions. “Greenhouse gas emissions will be further reduced by burning grain and converting agricultural residues / waste into biofuels,” the government said.

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