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 share in global energy consumption is estimated to double by 2050. Rising energy demand and high reliance on import, poses significant energy security challenges. It also leads to massive foreign currency outflow. Further, excessive use of fossil fuels leads to higher carbon emissions and associated health concerns. 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 percent by 2030. These targets will be achieved by adopting biofuels and renewables.
The government aims to provide 24x7 access to different forms of energy to end consumers, and bioenergy can play an instrumental role in this endeavour. The government has planned to electrify all the willing households in the country at 450 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2030.
India is endowed with abundant indigenous, non-polluting, and virtually inexhaustible renewable energy resources. According to the National Biofuel Policy 2018, the government of India has proposed a target of 20 percent blending of ethanol in petrol and 5 percent blending of biodiesel in diesel by 2025.
- The above targets will be met through,
- Growth in domestic biofuel production
- Use of multiple feedstocks
- Encouraging biofuel blending to supplement gasoline and diesel
There was shift in the government policy from the 2018 National Biofuel Policy, where the focus was on second- generation sources, to the 2021 NITI Aayog Roadmap for Ethanol Blending where the focus was back to the first- generation crops for biofuels. In the 2021 roadmap, the ethanol blending targets were also fast-tracked from 2030 to 2025. The new programme aims for 20 percent ethanol blending by 2025, and 5 percent biodiesel blending by 2025. While ethanol production is mainly derived from sugar crops and agricultural waste, biodiesel is driven from oil-based seeds and plants.
The Indian government recently announced that 11 states/union territories have achieved the target of 10 percent blending. According to the data these states are - Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and Daman and Diu and Nagar Haveli. With an overall average of 9.45 percent ethanol blending with petrol, India is likely to reach a target of 10 percent ethanol blending by November 2022.
|Existing and Proposed Advanced Biofuels Plants|
|Company||Year||Status||Scale/Technology||Annual Production Capacity (Million Liters)|
|Indian Glycols Kashipur||2016||Operational||Demo/Cellulosic ethanol||0.75|
|Praj Biofuels||2017||Operational||Demo/Cellulosic ethanol||1|
|Shell Bengaluru||2018||Operational||Demo/Drop-in Fuels||0.6|
|Numaligarh Refinery Limited||2018||Planned||Commercial/Cellu-losic ethanol||60|
|IOCL Panipat||2019||Planned||Commercial/Cellu-losic ethanol||30|
|BPCL Bargarh||2018||Planned||Commercial/Cellu-losic ethanol||30|
|HPCL Bhatindia||2017||Planned||Commercial/Cellu-losic ethanol||30|
|IOPCL Panipat||2019||Planned||Demo/Cellulosic ethanol||0.75|
|HOP Dehradun||2018||Operational||Pilot/HEFA Biojet||0.01|
|IOCL Panipat||2019||Planned||Commercial/3G ethanol||3.3|
Ethanol is derived either from feedstock such as sugarcane juice or molasses, considered first-generation sources, or through paddy straws, bagasse, forest residues, and others. The Ethanol Blending Programme (EBP) in India started in 2003, with the target of 5 percent blending of ethanol in petrol in selected districts which was later expanded to more states in 2006. Ethanol is used for blending with petrol due to its characteristics, which lead to benefits such as an increase in engine efficiency, better fuel quality due to its higher octane number, and other environmental benefits. Due to its complete combustion quality, ethanol leads to lesser emissions of carbon monoxide, and other Particulate Matter (PM).
|India: Ethanol Scenario (Million Litres)|
|No of Refineries||161||166||170||220||231+|
|Capacity Use (%)||75||117||85||85||76|
|(Feedstock use for fuel)||2,813||6,250||7,000||6,407||9,643|
|Blend Rate (%)||1.9||3.9||4.5||5.0||7.5|
Despite increased domestic production, India remains a net ethanol importer. In 2020, Indian ethanol imports increased 3 percent to 722 Mn litres, valued at $300 Mn. For the eighth consecutive year, the United States remained the largest ethanol supplier to India at 96 percent of India’s total ethanol imports. Strong local demand for industrial and medical-grade ethanol continues to drive U.S. exports. Other suppliers to India in the period included Singapore, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, China and Brazil.
Since 2000, the share of biodiesel in total biofuel production has increased nearly ten-fold, from 3.3 percent in 2000 to nearly 32 percent in 2020, but bioethanol still accounts for two thirds of total production. The biodiesel market remains informal, dispersed with minimal domestic production. As many countries operate at a minimum of B5, and several including Brazil, Thailand, Argentina, Malaysia, Indonesia running at B10 or higher, India’s biodiesel market has tremendous growth potential. However, India must retain a viable strategy that builds a financially sustainable domestic industry that contains sufficient feedstock availability coupled with market access for imports.
- Jatropha and Biodiesel
In the West, biodiesel is produced mostly from field crops like rapeseed and sunflower in Europe and soyabean in the US. Malaysia utilises palm oil while Nicaragua uses Jatropha. In India, there is a vast potential to produce biodiesel from Jatropha.
In December 2009, the Union government launched the National Biodiesel Mission (NBM) identifying Jatropha as the most suitable tree- borne oilseed for biodiesel production to help achieve a proposed biodiesel blend of 20 percent with conventional diesel by 2017. Biodiesel procurement started in 2014 and a pilot programme was started in August 2015 and was extended to six states. However, due to an acute shortage of Jatropha seeds, the government’s.
- Current Scenario
In 2021, India produced 180 Mn litres of biodiesel, 10 percent below 2020 levels. India has more than six plants with an installed annual biodiesel production capacity (maximum possible) of one Bn litres. However, the operating capacity remains at 500-550 Mn litres, as majority of the plants remain closed due to the lockdown and high feedstock prices (imported palm oil, palm stearin and domestically available animal tallows) that have reduced their operating margins. The production capacity ranges from 11 Mn to 225 Mn litres for existing plants. India’s annual biodiesel consumption grew by 6 percent till 2019, however due to the pandemic demand dropped by almost 24 percent and remained flat at 140 Mn liters in 2021. Muted demand for Biodiesel is because its applications are limited to certain OMC retail outlets, Indian railways, certain state road transport corporations, road transport fleet companies and port authorities. India’s 2021 biodiesel exports were 50 Mn litres down by 26 percent, nearly all biodiesel is exported to Europe (primarily the Netherlands, Spain and Belgium).
- MARINE BIOFUEL
Marine biofuel has the potential to become an environmentally friendly alternative fuel. It will be able to reduce CO2 by about 80-90 percent in the well-to-wake (from fuel generation to consumption) process without changing current engine specifications. Marine biofuel uses renewable organic resources such as biomass which are not utilized as foodstuff and feed crop. Biofuels are made from renewable organic resources like biomass.
Furthermore, for its production, waste and residues that need to be disposed of, can be reused. Some examples are used cooking oil collected from restaurants and residential households and animal fats. This will avoid the use of raw materials that compete with food or feed market.
In 2021, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. (K LINE) signed a deal for marine biofuel supply with global integrated energy company BP and have conducted a trial use of marine biofuel on car carrier ‘POLARIS HIGHWAY’. In the K LINE Environmental Vision 2050 - Blue Seas for the Future, they have set the 2030 interim target of improving CO2 emission efficiency by 50 percent over 2008, surpassing the IMO target of 40 percent improvement.
|India: Biodiesel Scenario (Million Litres)|
|No of Biorefineries||6||6||6||6||6|
|Capacity Use (%)||28.3||28.5||34.3||34.5||34.6|
|(Feedstock use for fuel) (1,000 MT)|
|Non- Edible Industrial||100||110||140||145||90|
|Used Cooking Oil||55||60||55||50||55|
|Market Penetration (Million liters)|
|Biodiesel, on – road use||73||83||100||50||50|
|Diesel, on -road use||56.715||59,220||60,145||44,400||52,927|
|Blend Rate (%)||0.13||0.14||0.17||0.11||0.09|
|Diesel, total use||94,524||98,700||100,241||74,000||75,000|
|Source: Trade Data Monitor (TDM) and Industry Sources|
|Proposed Biodiesel Plants|
|Applicants||Offered Capacity (TPD)||Plant Location||State||Status of Application|
|Adnoc Chem Pvt.Ltd.||30||Indore||Madhya Pradesh||LOI Issued|
|Pyarelal Enterprises||10||Kanpur nagar||Uttar Pradesh||LOI Issued|
|Pyarelal Enterprises||10||Allahabad||Uttar Pradesh||LOI Issued|
|Pyarelal Enterprises||10||Varanasi||Uttar Pradesh||LOI Issued|
|Endri Poly Plast||9||Farehpur||Uttar Pradesh||LOI Issued|
|BioD Energy India Pvt.Ltd.||11||Barwad||Haryana||Evaluation Completed|
|Greenhance Soplutions Pvt.Ltd.||13.2||Bhubaneshwar||Odisha||TCQ Pending|
|Bengal Bioiesel||50||24 South Parganas||West Bengal||TCQ Pending|
|Excel Technologies||12.22||Ghaziabad||Uttar Pradesh||Evaluation Completed|
|Excel Technologies||4.52||Meerur||Uttar Pradesh||Evaluation Completed|
|Sunshine Industries||11||Ahmedabad||Gujarat||Evaluation Completed|
|R N Fuels Pvt.Ltd.||10||Faridabad||Haryana||Evaluation Completed|
|RNS Automation||3.57||North Delhi||Delhi||TCQ Pending|
|RNS Automation||2.18||Muzaffarnagar||Uttar Pradesh||TCQ Pending|
|RNS Automation||1.82||Saharanpur||Uttar Pradesh||TCQ Pending|
|RNS Automation||2.23||Dehradun||Utrakhand||TCQ Pending|
|Vajrakaya Real Estate Pvt.Ltd.||20||Azamgarh||Uttar Pradesh||TCQ Pending|
|Vajrakaya Real Estate Pvt.Ltd.||20||Ghazipur||Uttar Pradesh||TCQ Pending|
|Vajrakaya Real Estate Pvt.Ltd.||20||Jaunpur||Uttar Pradesh||TCQ Pending|
While the government is confident of achieving 20 percent blending, there are some challenges along the way. For instance,
- The transition from 10 percent ethanol blending to 20 percent would lead to other investments, and additional burdens on several sectors, ranging from its effect on farms to automobile users.
- Existing vehicles are compatible with 5 percent-10 percent ethanol-blended petrol, so an increase in blending beyond that would mean replacing the existing stock or investing in retrofitting and calibrations.
- In 2021, out of total ethanol produced in the country, 91 percent came from sugarcane alone. The sugar industry, claims that sugarcane and paddy (the feedstock source of ethanol) use 70 percent of India’s irrigation water, leading to a lack of water availability for other crops.