Country’s agro-waste to be converted to ethanol, says expert

NIE hosts international conclave on clean fuels

November 02, 2022 06:18 pm | Updated 06:18 pm IST - MYSURU

India’s biofuel policy and implementation received a big push after 2014 and the nation has advanced the target for achieving 20 per cent ethanol blending from 2030 to 2025 .Besides, the country’s agro-waste pegged at more than 50 million tons was also set to be harnessed to produce ethanol.

This was stated by Y.B. Ramakrishna, Member Expert, Working Group on Biofuels, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India, here on Wednesday.

Mr. Ramakrishna was speaking at the International Conclave on Clean Fuels 2022 organised by the National Institute of Engineering.

He said about 450 new distilleries would come up across the country to produce ethanol from damaged foodgrains or agro wastes. ’While we have systematically mapped all  bio wastes and working to convert them into biofuels, the government was also working with technology developers to commercialise a viable technology’’, said Mr. Ramakrishna. Energy security and environment concerns are global drivers of biofuel programmes and India has added a third dimension to it which is rural development, he added.

Mr.Ramakrishna said the national working group on biofuels was constituted in June 2015 and the new national biofuel policy was announced in 2018. A target was set to meet 20 per cent ethanol blending by 2030 but it has now been advanced to 2025.

Between 2004 and 2014 biofuels did not receive the kind of traction it should have and the blending was pegged at 1.53 per cent during 2013-14 while it reached 7.63 per cent during 2020-21 and 10 per cent blending was achieved during May 2022 against the target of October 2022, he added.

With reference to ethanol-blended diesel Mr. Ramakrishna said Karnataka has shown the way and  2,200 buses are running with ethanol blended with diesel and described it is a unique experiment. Besides, Indian Air Force has tested sustainable aviation fuel on the entire range of aircraft and said that  India has taken the lead with regard to biofuels.

M.S. Ranganath, President, NIE, said the symposia will help bring a vast collection of ideas on sustainable solutions with regard to clean fuels from industrial experts and those in the academia.

Klaus Lucka, MD, Tec4Fuels, Germany delivered the keynote address.

S. Shamsundar, convenor of the conclave, said India consumes around 44.4 lakh barrels of crude oil daily of which 34.4 lakh barrels are imported and the national biofuel policy 2018 aims at replacing the fossil fuel significantly with biofuels. India was also looking at sustainable aviation fuel besidels methanol and hydrogen as future fuels all of which were expected to reduce carbon emission by 45 per cent by 2030 and net zero by 2070.

Representatives from various industries and academic bodies were present.

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