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World Biofuel Day

  • 10 Aug 2018
  • 7 min read

The World Biofuel Day is observed every year on August 10 to create awareness about the importance of non-fossil fuels as an alternative to conventional fossil fuels.

  • The World Biofuel Day is being observed by the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas for the last three years.
  • Persons from diverse fields like Members of Parliament,Students,farmers,entrepreneurs,Ambassadors,Government officers will participate in the event.
  • Separate interactive sessions on ethanol, bio-diesel, bio-CNG and 2nd Generation biofuels are also scheduled after the inaugural session.

NOTE:

Ethanol

  • Ethanol is a renewable fuel made from various plant materials collectively known as "biomass”.
  • Ethanol is also available as E85 (or flex fuel), which can be used in flexible fuel vehicles, designed to operate on any blend of gasoline and ethanol up to 83%.
  • Another blend, E15, is approved for use in model year 2001 and newer vehicles.

Bio-Diesel

  • Bio-diesel is an alternative fuel similar to conventional or ‘fossil’ diesel.
  • Bio-diesel can be produced from straight vegetable oil, animal oil/fats, tallow and waste cooking oil.
  • The process used to convert these oils to Bio-diesel is called transesterification.
  • The main benefit of bio-diesel is that it can be described as ‘carbon neutral’. This means that the fuel produces no net output of carbon in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2).

Bio-CNG

  • Bio-CNG is the purified form of Biogas where all the unwanted gases are removed to produce pure methane gas.
  • Bio-CNG is exactly similar to the commercially available natural gas in its composition and energy potential. As it is generated from biomass, it is considered a renewable source of energy and thus, attracts all the commercial benefits applicable to other renewable sources of energy.

Ethanol Blending Programme (EBP)

  • It aims at blending ethanol with petrol, thereby bringing it under the category of biofuels and saving millions of dollars by cutting fuel imports.
  • Under EBP program,availability of ethanol will increase due to the higher price for C heavy molasses based ethanol and enabling procurement of ethanol from B heavy molasses and sugarcane juice for the first time.
  • The Government has also reduced GST on ethanol for blending in fuel from 18% to 5%.

NOTE:

  • Sugarcane molasses is a viscous, dark and sugar-rich by-product of sugar extraction from the sugarcane.
  • B molasses (second molasses) has approximately the same DM content as A molasses but contains less sugar and does not spontaneously crystallize.
  • C molasses (final molasses, blackstrap molasses, treacle) is the end by-product of the processing in the sugar factory. It still contains considerable amounts of sucrose (approximately 32 to 42%). C molasses does not crystallize and can be found in liquid or dried form as a commercial feed ingredient.

National Policy on Biofuels

  • The objective of the Biofuel policy is to achieve 20% ethanol-blending and 5% biodiesel-blending by the year 2030.
  • The policy also expands the scope of feedstock for ethanol production and has provided for incentives for production of advanced biofuels.

Difference between Basic and Advance Biofuels

  • Second-generation biofuels, also known as advanced biofuels, are fuels that can be manufactured from various types of non-food biomass. Biomass in this context means plant materials and animal waste used especially as a source of fuel.
  • First-generation biofuels are made from the sugars and vegetable oils found in food crops using standard processing technologies.
  • Second-generation biofuels are made from different feedstocks and therefore may require different technology to extract useful energy from them.
  • Second generation feedstocks include lignocellulosic biomass or woody crops, agricultural residues or waste, as well as dedicated non-food energy crops grown on marginal land unsuitable for crop production.

Initiatives Taken by the Government of India on Biofuels

  • Simplifying the procurement procedures of Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs).
  • Amending the provisions of Industries (Development & Regulation) Act, 1951.
  • Enabling lignocellulosic route for ethanol procurement.
  • Administrative price mechanism for ethanol.

NOTE:

  • Lignocellulosic biomass refers to plant biomass that is composed of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin.
  • Biomass is increasingly recognized as a valuable commodity, since it is an alternative to petroleum for the production of biofuels and chemicals.
  • Even today, cellulose consumption is threefold higher than that of steel and is equal to that of cereals, but its current uses are mainly restricted to the materials sector (wood-based and paper).
  • From an energy point of view lignocellulosic biomass can replace fossil fuels.

Other Facts

  • India is the third largest consumer of energy in the world after China and the US.
  • Currently, the country is dependent on imports for about 82.1 per cent of its crude oil requirement and to the extent of about 44.4 per cent in case of natural gas.
  • Oil PSUs are also planning to set up 12 second generation (2G) biorefineries to augment ethanol supply and address environmental issues arising out of burning of agricultural biomass.
  • The biofuels programme is also in sync with other Government of India initiatives like Make in India and Swachh Bharat Mission.
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