Bio-Fuels Current Affairs

India’s First Bio Refinery Plant inaugurated in Pune

Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari has inaugurated India’s First Integrated Bio‐refinery for Renewable Fuels & Chemicals for producing ethanol from a variety of biomass. The plant is situated at Rahu in Pune district of Maharashtra. The demonstration plant has been built by Praj industries.

The inaugurated Bio‐refinery plant is capable of producing one million litres of ethanol per annum by processing a variety of biomass like rice and wheat straw, cotton stalk, bagasse, cane trash, corn cobs  & stover with superior product yields.

In 2015, the Government has asked Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) to target 10 % blending of ethanol in as many States as possible.  The fuel doping programme that required blending of 5% ethanol had started in November 2012. It was notified under the Motor Spirits Act on January 2, 2013. The Government has also allowed the OMCs to procure ethanol produced from other non-food feedstocks, like cellulosic and lignocellulosic materials including petrochemical route.

Significance

Biofuel is cost‐effective and pollution‐free. Ethanol blending is the practice of blending petrol with ethanol. Globally many countries including India, have resorted to ethanol blending to reduce vehicle exhaust emissions  

The inauguration of the refinery paves the way for stepping up 20% ethanol blending program and can reduce the import burden of crude petroleum.

Biofuels

Biofuels are fuels which are in some way derived from biomass. The term covers solid biomass, liquid fuels and various biogases and also denotes Biodiesel, Bio-alcohol and bio-gasoline. Common Biofuel Crops The most common Biofuel crops include Corn, Rapeseed/Canola, Sugarcane, Palm Oil, Jatropha, Soyabean, Cottonseed, Sunflower seeds, Wheat, Sugarbeet, Cassava, Algae, Coconut, Jojoba, Castor Beans etc.

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10 August: World Bio-Fuel Day

Every year 10th August is observed as World Bio-Fuel Day in a bid to create awareness about non fossil-fuels (Green Fuels).

Significance of Day: On this day in 1893, Sir Rudalph Diesel (inventor of the diesel engine) for the first time successfully ran mechanical engine with Peanut Oil. His research experiment had predicted that vegetable oil is going to replace the fossil fuels in the next century to fuel different mechanical engines. Thus to mark this extraordinary achievement, World Biofuel Day is observed every year on 10th August.

Observations in India

On this occasion four retail outlets of bio fuel blended diesel were launched by Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan. These outlets are located in Delhi, Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada and Haldiya.

About Bio-fuels

They are renewable, bio-degradable, sustainable and environment friendly fuel. It can be seen as alternative to conventional fossil fuels. In case of India its promotion and encouragement can play important role in energy security and can help to reduce the import of fossil fuel and also save foreign exchange.

Present Bio-fuels trend in India

Presently ethanol blended petrol programme is being promoted India. In this case ethanol is blended in petrol with permissible limit ranging from five to ten per cent depending on the availability of ethanol. Bio-Diesel is used in various modes to transportation in India such as Railways, shipping and State Road Transport Corporations.

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