At present, global production of animal fat and vegetable oil as a raw material for biodiesel production is not sufficient enough to replace or substitute fossil fuels like diesel, petroleum, hence it is important to identify species which would give better yields and not harm the local ecology. The current proportion of feedstock usage for biodiesel production worldwide is given in figure 1.
India is ranked fifth amongst the largest consumers of energy in the whole world, accounting for almost 4.4% of the total 12000 million tonnes of oil equivalent of the energy resources consumed by the world. India consumes about 47mmt of diesel. There is a huge lag between the demand and supply which is met by imports, causing the crude oil import burden to be as high as Rs. 1,10,000 crore. India has the potential to tap species like Madhuca indica (Mahua oil), Pongamia pinnata (Karanja oil), Jatropha curcas (Jatropha), etc. for bio fuel production. It was estimated by Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (2011) that by the year 2017, almost 20% of India’s total energy needs would be met by biodiesel (as per National Policy on Biofuel), this would require plantation of roughly 12 to 13 million ha of biodiesel feedstock plantation. Jatropha was planned to be grown on the wastelands across India but it alone can’t meet the target of 20% and would need an additional thirty million ha of wasteland. The wastelands proposed for the plantation are community forests and grasslands which provide the local people with timber, fodder, fuel wood and thatching material. Jatropha leaves can’t serve the purpose of fodder and doesn’t yield much wood, hence jatropha plantations on the wastelands is not a beneficial alternative for the small and medium scale farmers and would increase the hardship for them. Therefore, it is important to grow a combination of different tree species and identify local species which have a good potential as a feedstock and are sustainable too. The National Bio-energy Mission was also launched by MNRE to be implemented under the 12th and 13th five year plan to utilize and harness energy, power and heat from the excess biomass sourced from agricultural, human and animal waste.
On the occasion of World Bio-fuel Day on 10th August 2015, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas had announced the marketing and sale of bio-diesel mixed with high speed diesel in selected retail outlets in New Delhi, Haldia, Vishakhapatnam and Vijaywada showing the increasing interest towards bio-fuel of the country as an alternative source of energy in near future. The ministry also gave permission for the direct sale of B100 bio-diesel to bulk consumers like shipping, railways, state road transportation corporations, etc. Ethanol Blended Petrol Program (EBP) is also being promoted, wherein the ethanol blending in petrol would range from 5 to 10% based on the ethanol availability as it is more sustainable as once Mark Kennedy correctly pointed out “Ethanol and biodiesel allow people to burn a cleaner form of energy.” HPCL Biofuels Limited with the aim to contribute in the Ethanol Blended Program, revived two sugar mills located in Bihar for the generation of ethanol which could be blended in petrol as per the ambitious program of the Government of India.
Many companies are into the business of retail and manufacturing of biofuel in India like-
Bio-fuels are sustainable source of energy than the non renewable fossil fuels and their sustainability can be certified by different verification bodies like Roundtable of Sustainable Biofuels Certification (RSB), Bureau Veritas Certification, National Resource Defense Council, etc. They are also capable of reducing the total carbon dioxide emissions produced in its complete lifecycle. The amount of carbon dioxide produced on burning the bio fuel in the combustion engine is almost equivalent to the amount absorbed by the plant during the growth phase of its biomass hence bio-fuel is almost carbon neutral in its entire lifecycle. Furthermore, they are also comparatively less polluting with low soot and sulphur dioxide emissions due to its low impurity content like sulphur, etc. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has also issued notifications for the mass emission standards for ethanol vehicles using E85 and ED95 as the flex fuel to ascertain the efficiency and sustainability of the vehicles, also a bus using bio-ethanol as the fuel is under trial in Nagpur. Hence, bio-fuels holds great prospects in the future and need further research, monitoring and development so that the world may be gifted with a clean and sustainable energy source.
References and more information:
Forestry is a diverse industry that covers all aspects of creating, maintaining and using woodlands. Those who work in the… Read More
First case of twin buffalo calves in India using Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) 5 buffalo calves were born through IVF… Read More
῀ 100% ecofriendly, Make-in-India product innovation helps cut pollution, conserve biodiversity῀ National, August 06, 2020: Tulips, India’s most innovative personal… Read More
As the world realizes the importance of making more eco-friendly choices to make their future more sustainable, companies are coming… Read More