On Wednesday, the Union Cabinet approved a number of amendments to the National Policy on Biofuels, 2018 and set a target of 20% ethanol-blended gasoline blending in five years from 2030 to 2025-26.
This has allowed more feedstock for biofuel production, which, when combined with auto fuel, could help reduce the country’s dependence on imported oil to meet its energy needs. Currently, oil marketing companies mix about 10% of ethanol into gasoline. The amendment adds new members to the National Biofuels Coordinating Committee (NBCC).
These decisions will help India, which relies on imports to meet 85% of its oil demand, reduce its dependence on foreign shipments.
According to the statement, the approved amendments are consistent with the progress made in the field of biofuels and various decisions taken at the NBCC meeting to increase biofuel production.
It also facilitates the promotion of biofuel production in the country under the ‘Make in India’ program by units located in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) / Export-Based Units (EoUs). The cabinet also approved the export of biofuels in certain cases. “The proposal will also attract and encourage the development of indigenous technologies which will pave the way for the ‘Make in India’ program and thereby create more employment and reduce imports of petroleum products by producing more biofuels,” the statement said.
“As more feedstocks are being allowed for biofuel production, this will promote a self-reliant India and encourage the Prime Minister’s vision of making India ‘energy independent’ by 2047,” the statement added.
Reacting to the amendment, the sugar industry said it welcomes the move and looks forward to playing a leading role as the country’s ethanol supplier. “Thanks to the positive initiatives of the government, significant new investments are being made across the country to increase ethanol production.
However, in order to roll out the program smoothly, we urge all ethanol producers to remove some of the process barriers such as signing bilateral and tripartite agreements and give equal priority to new and old ethanol plants instead of just new ones. We further urge that Uttar Pradesh, which is the largest ethanol producing state in the country, should be given priority and oil marketing companies should be encouraged to produce more instead of obstructing it, ”said an industry official.