Examine how biofuel production can help India meet its climate obligations and make the transition to a carbon-neutral economy.
Biofuels are transportation fuels such as ethanol and biomass-based diesel fuel that are made from biomass materials. These fuels are usually blended with petroleum fuels (gasoline and distillate/diesel fuel and heating oil), but they can also be used on their own. Unlike other renewable energy sources, biomass can be converted directly into “biofuels,” to help meet transportation fuel needs.
- An emissions-intensity target of 33%–35% by 2030 below 2005 levels;
- To increase the share of non-fossil-based energy resources to 40% of installed electric power capacity by 2030 with support;
- To create an additional (cumulative) carbon sink of 2.5–3 GtCO2e through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.
- India has an ambitious 2022 renewable energy capacity target of 175 GW. As of July 2021, it was just shy of the 100 GW mark, with 98.9 GW of new renewable energy capacity installed
How it helps India’s commitment
- Although biofuels may not emit as much carbon as fossil fuels, fertilisers used in the production of biofuels contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.
- Biofuels can also assist in the management of municipal solid waste, as the waste can be transformed into fuel.
- Biofuels may be easily adapted to contemporary engine designs and function admirably under most situations.
- They have a higher cetane number and improved lubrication.
- This allows the engine to function for longer periods of time, requiring less maintenance and reducing overall emissions.
- When compared to regular diesel, biofuel emits fewer damaging carbon emissions.
- According to studies, biofuels can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 65 percent.
- Biofuels are biodegradable, which reduces the risk of soil contamination and groundwater contamination during transportation, storage, and use.
How it makes a carbon neutral economy
- Biofuels are said to be carbon-neutral because the carbon dioxide that is absorbed by the plants is equal to the carbon dioxide that is released when the fuel is burned. This means it doesn’t release any extra carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The absorption of CO2 by these plants offsets the CO2 that forms while making and burning biodiesel.
- Sugarcane ethanol has one of the smallest carbon footprints among biofuels. It is clean and affordable and, when blended with petrol, can reduce GHG emissions by up to 90 per cent. Ethanol blending also significantly reduces emissions of particulate pollutants and noxious gases.
- India launched the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) scheme in 2003. With concerted efforts by the government over the past seven years, the production of fuel-grade ethanol touched three billion litres in Ethanol Supply Year 2020-21.
- The targets for ethanol blending have now been set at 10 per cent for 2022 and 20 per cent for 2025.
- National Policy on Biofuels 2018- GOI aims at increasing the utilization of biofuels in the energy and transportation sectors by promoting the production of biofuels from domestic feedstock
- To guide efforts in this direction, the NITI Aayog and the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas released the “Roadmap for Ethanol Blending in India, 2020-25” in June 2021.
International cooperation in this area should also extend to industrial processing, particularly for second-generation ethanol, to ramp up commercial-scale plants. Knowledge exchange should also encompass public policies, sustainable practices, and the lessons learned so far. By strengthening trade and investments in the business and infrastructure of biofuel production, we can build greater momentum towards our respective climate commitments and the transition to carbon-neutral economies.
How to structure:
- Give a brief intro about what bio-fuels are
- Briefly mention India’s commitments in climate change
- Now, examine how bio-fuel production can help India meet its climate obligations
- Explain how biofuels will help us to become a carbon neutral economy
- Mention related schemes