IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


12th August, 2022 Economy

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  • On the occasion of World Biofuel Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated the 2nd generation (2G) ethanol plant set up at the Indian Oil Corporation’s Panipat refinery in Haryana.
  • This plant will not only help reduce air pollution from the Delhi–NCR region but also help generate additional income and green fuel.



  • Biofuels are liquid or gaseous fuels primarily produced from biomass —that is, plant or algae material or animal waste.
  • Biofuels can be used to replace or can be used in addition to diesel, petrol or other fossil fuels for transport, stationary, portable and other applications.
  • Ethanol and biodiesel are the two main transport biofuels. These fuels can be produced from a variety of biomass.


Categories of biofuels

  • First generation biofuels- First-generation biofuels are made from sugar, starch, vegetable oil, or animal fats using conventional technology. Common first-generation biofuels include Bioalcohols, Biodiesel, Vegetable oil, Bioethers, Biogas.
  • Second generation biofuels -These are produced from non-food crops, such as cellulosic biofuels and waste biomass (stalks of wheat and corn, and wood). Examples include advanced biofuels like biohydrogen, biomethanol.
  • Third generation biofuels- These are produced from micro-organisms like algae.
  • Fourth generation biofuels- These are produced from genetically modified (GM) algae to enhance biofuel production.


Note: The prices of both sugarcane and bio-ethanol are set by the central government.


India’s Biofuel Economy

  • India is one of the fastest growing economies and the third largest consumer of primary energy in the world after the US and China.
  • India’s fuel energy security will remain vulnerable until alternative fuels are developed based on renewable feedstocks.
  • The government of India targets reducing the country’s carbon footprint by 30-35% by the year 2030.
  • These targets will be achieved through a five-pronged strategywhich includes:
    • Increasing domestic production
    • adopting biofuels and renewable
    • implementing energy efficiency norms
    • improving refinery processes and
    • achieving demand substitution.
  • The government of India has proposed a target of 20% blending of ethanol in petrol and 5% blending of biodiesel in diesel by 2030and introduced multiple initiatives to increase indigenous production of biofuels.


What are 1G and 2G biofuels?

  • 1G Bioethanol plants utilise sugarcane juice and molasses, byproducts in the production of sugar, as raw material.
  • 2G plants utilise surplus biomass and agricultural waste to produce Bioethanol.
  • Third generation biofuels- These are produced from micro-organisms like algae.
  • Fourth generation biofuels- These are produced from genetically modified (GM) algae to enhance biofuel production.
  • The prices of both sugarcane and bio-ethanol are set by the central government.

Benefits of India’s ethanol blending mandates include:

  • Reduce Import Dependency: Will saves foreign exchange (forex).
  • Cleaner Environment: Reducing crop burning and converting agricultural residues/wastes to biofuels will further reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
  • Health Benefits:Prolonged reuse of cooking oil for preparing food, particularly in deep-frying, is a potential health hazard and can lead to many diseases. Used cooking oil (UCO) is a potential feedstock for biodiesel and its use for making biodiesel prevents reuse of UCO within the food industry.
  • Solid Waste Management: There are technologies available, which can convert solid waste and plastics to drop-in fuels.
  • Infrastructural Investment in Rural Areas:Establishing additional 2G biorefineries across the country will spur infrastructural investment in rural areas.
  • Employment Generation:2G biorefinery can contribute 1200 jobs across plant operations, village level entrepreneurs and supply chain management.
  • Additional Income to Farmers:By adopting 2G technologies, agricultural residues/wastes that otherwise are burnt can be converted to ethanol. Farmers can realise an additional revenue source if markets are developed for these residues/wastes.


Major programs supporting the development of biofuels production and use in India include:

  • Viable gap funding (VGF)for commercial scale 2G ethanol plants under Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN Yojana
  • Financial assistance for demonstration scale 2G integrated bioethanol under Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN Yojana.
  • Grants for research and development from DBT to 5 Centres for Excellence in the Bioenergy area.
  • The National Policy on Biofuels 2018specifically promotes advanced biofuels to achieve a target of 20% blending of biofuels with fossil-based fuels by 2030.


Measures that can improve Bio-fuel economy:

  • Currently in India, Biofuel development is centred around the cultivation of Jatropha plant seeds. There is need to develop new feedstock for biofuels.
  • To facilitate the blending of biofuels with conventional fuels, there is need to set up advanced biorefineries.
  • Research and development should be promoted to support generation of bio-fuel from waste. As it will ensure realizing the goal of waste management and waste to energy.