IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


26th September, 2023 Economy

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Context: The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) announced that the Indian Standards will complement the objectives of the Global Biofuel Alliance (GBA), the multilateral forum announced by the Prime Minister of India during the G20 leaders’ summit held recently in New Delhi.


  • The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), India's National Standards Body, has made significant strides to align with the country's green initiatives by developing relevant standards and quality parameters for biofuels. These actions complement the objectives of the Global Biofuel Alliance (GBA), a multilateral forum introduced by the Prime Minister of India during the G20 leaders' summit in New Delhi. These efforts are essential in addressing a range of challenges and realizing the potential benefits associated with sustainable biofuels.

Global Biofuel Alliance (GBA)

  • Global Biofuel Alliance (GBA): It is a multilateral forum aimed at promoting sustainable biofuels globally by formulating national policies, developing marketplaces, evolving technological competency, and adopting internationally recognized standards and codes of practice.
  • Global Biofuel Market: The GBA aims to facilitate the adoption of biofuels worldwide. The global ethanol market was valued at USD 99 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 5% by 2032. India, along with the USA and Brazil, plays a significant role in the production and consumption of ethanol globally.
  • Reducing Fossil Fuel Dependency: Currently, a substantial portion of India's transportation fuel needs are met by fossil fuels, contributing to significant imports and costs. By blending ethanol with gasoline, India aims to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and achieve cost savings. It is estimated that blending ethanol up to 20% with gasoline could lead to savings of around $4 billion.

Indian Standards for Biofuels by BIS

  • Development of Indian Standards: BIS has played a pivotal role in developing Indian Standards for biofuels, including anhydrous ethanol, biodiesel, biogas, and other related specifications. These standards ensure the quality, safety, and compatibility of biofuels for various applications.
  • Alignment with GBA Objectives: BIS's commitment to developing these standards aligns with the objectives of the GBA, which seeks to advance sustainable biofuels on a global scale. It emphasizes the importance of international cooperation and standardized practices in achieving clean energy goals.
  • Key Biofuel Standards: BIS has introduced nine Indian standards for biofuels, covering various types of ethanol, biodiesel, biogas, and aviation turbine fuel. These standards serve as crucial benchmarks for stakeholders, including manufacturers, traders, and other entities involved in biofuel production and distribution.
  • Green Diesel Development: BIS is also working on the development of standards for paraffinic (green) diesel derived from 2G feedstock, further expanding its support for sustainable biofuels.
  • Multipronged Benefits: BIS believes that the adoption of these standards will lead to increased biofuel production capacity in India. This, in turn, will contribute to several national objectives, including achieving net zero emissions by 2070, increasing renewable energy sources to 50%, supporting the "Make in India" initiative, promoting self-reliance (Atmanirbhar Bharat), converting waste into wealth, and boosting farmers' income.

Major steps taken by India to promote Biofuels

  • G20 Summit Initiative: India launched the Global Biofuel Alliance (GBA) during its G20 presidency, promoting global cooperation and sustainable biofuel adoption.
  • Major Global Player: India, alongside the USA and Brazil, contributes to 85% of global biofuel production and 81% of global ethanol consumption, shaping global policies.
  • Ethanol Blending Program: India initiated a robust ethanol blending program, blending up to 20% ethanol with gasoline, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and lowering costs.
  • Infrastructure Development: Indian Oil Manufacturing Companies (OMCs) invest in new distilleries for 1G and 2G ethanol production. Vehicle manufacturers are developing engines compatible with ethanol-blended fuels.
  • Government Support: The Indian government introduced an interest subvention scheme, incentivizing ethanol production by offering financial support to molasses and grain-based distilleries, enhancing financial viability.
  • Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFVs): India is set to introduce FFVs capable of running on various ethanol-gasoline blends, including up to 85% ethanol content, following examples from the USA and Brazil. This will provide consumers with more choices and boost biofuel adoption.

Challenges India faces in its efforts to promote biofuels

  • Infrastructure Development: Expanding biofuel infrastructure, including distilleries, storage, distribution, and refuelling stations, demands substantial investment, time, and collaboration among stakeholders for efficient nationwide availability.
  • Awareness and Adoption: Raising public and industry awareness of biofuel benefits, such as reduced emissions and energy security, is crucial. Education campaigns and incentives can drive adoption, requiring policy support and market incentives.
  • Feedstock Availability: Sustainable feedstock supply, like sugarcane and corn, is vital for biofuel production. Challenges include weather impacts, agriculture practices, and resource competition. Efforts should prevent negative consequences like deforestation and food price increases by diversifying feedstock sources, including exploring second-generation (2G) options.

Way forward for India's biofuel initiatives

  • Standardization: The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) should continue its collaboration with the Global Biofuel Alliance (GBA) to develop and maintain comprehensive standards, ensuring the quality and compatibility of biofuels for global markets.
  • Infrastructure Investment: Prioritizing investments in biofuel production and distribution infrastructure is crucial. This includes expanding distilleries, storage facilities, distribution networks, and refuelling stations to ensure widespread biofuel availability.
  • Awareness Campaigns: Public awareness campaigns are vital for informing citizens and industries about the benefits of biofuels. Incentives and educational programs should be employed to encourage adoption, supported by policy measures and market incentives.
  • Feedstock Diversification: To enhance sustainability and mitigate supply challenges, India should explore diverse feedstock sources, including second-generation (2G) feedstocks, such as agricultural residues and waste materials.
  • International Collaboration: India should strengthen its collaborations with major biofuel-producing nations like the USA and Brazil. This international cooperation can advance global sustainability goals, foster economic development, and facilitate knowledge sharing in the biofuel industry.


  • India's commitment to developing biofuel standards and its involvement in the GBA reflect a significant step toward achieving clean energy goals, reducing fossil fuel dependence, and supporting various national objectives. The challenges can be addressed through sustained efforts, investment, and international cooperation, leading to a more sustainable and prosperous future for India's energy sector.

Must Read Articles:

Bureau of Indian Standards: https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/bureau-of-indian-standards

Global Biofuels Alliance: https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/global-biofuels-alliance

BIOFUELS: https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/biofuels-27

AMENDMENTS TO THE NATIONAL POLICY ON BIOFUELS 2018: https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/amendments-to-the-national-policy-on-biofuels-2018


Q. How does the Global Biofuel Alliance (GBA) aim to promote sustainable biofuels globally, and what role does India play in the global biofuel market? What are the key steps and challenges faced by India in its efforts to promote biofuels, and what strategies are suggested for the way forward in this endeavour?