Biofuels: an opportunity for India

Raw material for biofuel production
  • We can use 170 million tonnes of agricultural waste out of the 800 million tonnes generated to be used for ethanol production in the current situation
  • This could easily be ramped up to 250 million tonnes per year, to produce between 31-47 billion litres of ethanol by 2020
  • 31-47 billion litres is a radical increase from the current production of 2 billion litres
Solution to stubble burning
  • This will lead to a huge reduction in stubble burning because of an economic incentive available to remove and give the crop waste to biofuel plants
  • Sewage treatment plants (STPs) can also contribute as India generates around 70 billion litres of waste water every day
  • By building biogas generation and upgrading facilities at the STP sites, the output can potentially substitute 350 million litres of diesel, 2.3 gigawatt hours of natural gas fired power and over 8 million LPG cylinders of 14.2kg each
Ongoing biofuel powered projects
  • We have started with some encouraging pilots for biofuel-driven buses in cities like Nagpur
  • In Nagpur, the government has allowed special purpose vehicles to own and operate these buses along with the plants and the depots required to fuel the buses
  • According to a study, the increase in ethanol production alone has the potential to create over 700,000 jobs when targeting only the base potentia
  • States with a combination of high agricultural activity and large fuel consumption like Maharasthra, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh would be the best positioned to exploit this opportunity
  • Countries like Sweden and a developing country like Brazil have used ethanol in a big way to achieve their environmental and economic objectives
  • We need measures, which are available today and at affordable costs
  • This one measure of pushing for biofuel buses for public transport within a specific timeline like 2020, would help transform our public transport services, improve the health of our citizens, provide economic impetus and create jobs
  • Surely a win-win proposition at a fraction of the cost associated with the subsidy-driven push being planned for E-mobility

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