Boost to Biofuels
- January 10, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Boost to Biofuels
Subject – Environment
Context – Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari announced on November 11, 2021, that flex-fuel engines will be made mandatory in the coming days
- The advantage of flex-fuel engines is that it can run with 100 per cent biofuel, unlike a standard engine which develops problem if blending ratio goes above 20 per cent.
- The flex-fuel, or flexible fuel, is basically biofuel made with a combination of gasoline, methanol or ethanol where blending ratio may shift from zero to 100 per cent.
- The aim is to gradually shift to fuels which are import substitutes, cost effective, indigenous and pollution-free.
- The entire automobile sector in Brazil runs on flex-fuel engines. The blending varies depending on the availability of biofuel feedstock and price of global crude oil. As a result, international crude oil price does not pinch them anymore.
- While the idea of pushing towards flex-fuel auto-engine is a novel one, the stark reality is that we do not have the feedstock even for 20 per cent bending ratio.
- Currently, the supply is enough to meet about 8.5 per cent blending ratio.
- The government has decided to step up domestic manufacture of biofuels by 10 per cent every year and has advanced the target of blending 20 per cent ethanol in petrol to 2025, from 2030.
- Biodiesel production involves four distinct stages —
- (i) cultivation of oilseeds bearing plants from which seeds would be harvested;
- (ii) trading of seeds which involves procurement of seeds from the individual farmers and selling them to the processing factories;
- (iii) oil extraction from the seeds and transforming the extracted oil to biofuel through the process of trans-esterification;
- (iv) blending this biofuel with the petrol/ diesel and its disposal to individual consumers through retail outlet.
- Originally, India’s biofuel programme identified a few oilseeds whose cultivation was encouraged to meet feedstock supply. However, this policy is now discarded in the new biofuel policy.
- Increasingly, the focus is now of adopting second generation biofuel process, namely producing biofuel from used vegetable oil, crop residue.
- While the policy seems to be sound on paper, very little has been achieved. Only two bio-refineries with capacity of 500,000 litres/day of ethanol from spoilt and surplus food-grain have been constructed by Indian Oil Corporation out of the 12 new bio-refineries to be built across 11 States in the country.
To know about National Policy on Biofuels, please refer August 2021 DPN.
To know about biofuels, please refer October 2021 DPN.