A webinar on the occasion of the World Biofuel day was organized today by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, with the theme “Biofuels towards Atmanirbhar Bharat”. World Biofuel Day is observed every year on 10th August to create awareness about the importance of non-fossil fuels as an alternative to conventional fossil fuels and to highlight the various efforts made by the Government in the Biofuel sector. World Biofuel Day is being celebrated by Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas since 2015.
Biofuels programme is also in synergy with Government of India’s initiative of Atmanirbhar Bharat and accordingly, the theme for World Biofuel Day 2020 has been chosen. In view of the Corona/ Covid-19 pandemic, the function was held through a webinar this year.
This day also honors the research experiments by Sir Rudolf Diesel who ran an engine with peanut oil in the year 1893. His research experiment had predicted that vegetable oil is going to replace fossil fuels in the next century to fuel different mechanical engines.
Speaking on the occasion, Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas Tarun Kapoor said that India being a large agricultural economy, there is large amount of agricultural residues available, therefore the scope of producing Biofuels is immense in the country. He said that if we look at the Biofuels, there are three major areas- Ethanol, Bio-diesel and Biogas. “If we are able to exploit these three, then we can reduce our dependence on import of crude to a very large extent and import of gas also”, he added. For this purpose, he called for including appropriate technologies, involving skilled and professional manpower, and financial institutions to provide funding. The secretary sought the support of the State Governments to the sector in a very big way because the agricultural residues and all the other wastes, which may come from the municipal solid wastes or other form of wastes all has to be collected segregated, managed and then supplied to various plants which may come up. Kapoor also called for sensitizing other stakeholders, primarily, the farmers and also the common public who may be producing wastes and not managing the wastes the way it should be managed so that it can further be used and converted into useful forms.
Biofuels have multiple benefits such as reduction on import dependence, ensuring a cleaner environment, generating additional income for farmers and employment generation. Since, 2014, the Government of India has taken a number of initiatives to increase blending of biofuels. The major initiatives include administrative price mechanism for ethanol, simplifying the procurement procedures by OMCs, amending the provisions of Industries (Development & Regulation) Act, 1951, Long term ethanol procurement policy, ethanol distillation capacity addition and enabling lignocellulosic route for ethanol procurement. Under the Ethanol Blending Program, OMCs have procured 113.09 Crore litres of Biodiesel from 01.12.19 to 03.08.20. Under the Biodiesel blending Program, OMCs have increased biodiesel procurement from 1.1 crore litres during 2015-16 to 10.6 crore litres during 2019-20.