22 May 2022
The Union Cabinet recently made amendments to the National Biofuel Policy 2018.
Highlights of the amendments:
The target for achieving 20% ethanol blending in petrol is advanced by five years. Thus, the new target is 2025-26 instead of 2030. Other amendments to the biofuel policy are:
- Allowing more feedstock for the production of biofuels.
- Allowing production of biofuels under the ‘Make in India’ program in Special Economic Zones (SEZs), Export Oriented Units.
- Allowing export of biofuels in some cases.
- Addition of new members to the National Biofuel Coordination Committee (NBCC), which is the agency that coordinates the blending program.
- Granting permission to NBCC to change the policy.
About National Biofuel Policy 2018.
- The National Biofuel Policy, 2018 focuses on bioethanol, biodiesel, and bio-CNG.
- The key parts of the policy are the Ethanol Blending Programme (EPB), production of second-generation (2G) ethanol, R&D in feedstock, etc.
- The initial target was to achieve 20% blending by 2030.
- The Union government announced premium rates for ethanol produced from sugar syrup, cane juice, and B heavy molasses.
- Excess or damaged foodgrains are allowed to use as feedstock for ethanol production.
- The policy aims to reduce dependence on oil imports, thereby cutting down the import bill. It also allows consumers to access environmentally friendly fuel.
- The policy also enables the sugar industry to diversify its portfolios and become self-reliant.
The current status of blending and installed capacity:
- Currently, the all-India average blending stands at 9.90%.
- The installed capacity that sugar mills have for ethanol production is 460 crore liters.
- To achieve a 20% blending target the country requires a consistent annual supply of 1,500 crores liters of ethanol.