With the oil prices shooting up, alternative energy sources have gained more significance than never before. The strategy of blending petroleum fuel with biofuels has generated much interest among various stakeholders.

Plant-based fuels such as ethanol derived from sugarcane can be added to gasoline while biodiesel extracted from oilseeds can be mixed with diesel, according to experts. This process brings benefit both on the economic and environmental fronts. On the one hand, dependence on imported oil can be reduced, while on the other, greenhouse gas emissions can be curbed. Thus, the countries that are capable of producing biofuels stand to gain under the present fuel scenario.

Countries like Brazil having large sugarcane farms are expected to make gains in the crisis ridden energy situations in future. In India, States like Maharashtra having vast fields of sugarcane cultivation would benefit. Jatropha farming taken up on a large-scale in Uttaranchal and other States may also yield profit in the emerging scenario.

The clean development mechanism (CDM) mooted by international agencies assumes importance in this context. Various trade bodies and NGOs are involved in the programme. The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry has undertaken a CDM project in collaboration with the Norwegian Government.

The CDM is the outcome of Kyoto Protocol of 1997 which moots reduction in emission of greenhouse gases through own country effort or by assisting developing countries and then trading the reductions. These reductions are measured in Certified Emission Reductions (CER). Each CER is equal to one metric tonne emission reduction of carbon dioxide, according to FICCI sources.

CERs earned through the clean development mechanism can be traded by the beneficiary organisations. CERs are traded globally at various carbon exchanges including London and Singapore. This would not only recover investment on the CDM initiative but also reap substantial dividends for future. FICCI is assisting industries to adopt energy efficient clean technology for operational efficiency and productivity. The projects for reduction in emission of greenhouse gases ultimately helps to reduce global warming apart from earning CERs.

In India, the CDM is gaining acceptance among various players in the industry, according to G.M. Pillai, Director General of World Institute of Sustainable Energy, Pune. Several wind energy projects are eligible for CERs and more projects would come up in the country, he said in an interview recently.

Kerala is expected to take keen interest in the CDM by setting up wind energy projects in the State, according to him.

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