Bio-Fuels Current Affairs
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World Bio-fuel Day (The International Biodiesel Day) is observed every year on August 10 to create awareness about the importance of non-fossil fuels i.e. Green Fuels or Bio-fuels an alternative to conventional fossil fuels. Bio-fuels are renewable, bio-degradable, sustainable and environment friendly fuel. It can be seen as alternative to conventional fossil 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.
In India, World Biofuel Day is being observed by the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas. This year it had organized World Biofuel Day programme at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. It had conducted separate interactive sessions on ethanol, bio-diesel, bio-CNG and 2nd Generation biofuels.
Government initiatives to promote biofuels
Considering benefits of biofuels in reducing import dependency on crude oil, asmclean environment fuel and generating additional income to farmers and employment generation in rural areas, Government has undertaken number of initiatives such biofuels programme and increasing blending of biofuels etc.
The biofuels programme is in synergy with Government’s other initiatives for Make in India, Swachh Bharat and doubling farmers’ income by 2022. Government’s major interventions in this sector includes administrative price mechanism for ethanol, simplifying procurement procedures of OMCs, amending provisions of Industries (Development & Regulation) Act, 1951 and enabling lignocellulosic route for ethanol procurement.
Oil PSUs are also planning to set up 12 Second Generation (2G) Bio-refineries to augment ethanol supply and address environmental issues arising out of burning of agricultural biomass especially in North India. Government also has approved National Policy on Biofuels-2018 in June 2018. It aims at reaching 20% ethanol-blending and 5% biodiesel-blending by year 2030.
It also has expanded scope of feedstock for ethanol production and has provided for incentives for production of advanced biofuels. Government also has increased price of C-heavy molasses-based ethanol to boost to Ethanol Blending Programme (EBP). It also has fixed price of B-heavy molasses-based ethanol and sugarcane juice-based ethanol for the first time at Rs. 47.40.
It also has reduced GST on ethanol for blending in fuel from 18% to 5%. Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas is making all efforts to increase ethanol supply for petrol and has taken several steps in this direction.
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.
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 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.