Biofuel: Key to India’s energy security and sustainable development: Opinion


India is also likely to push for an international biofuel alliance during its G20 presidency and to be ready with 20%ethanol blended petrol at select fuel pumps by 2023

Written by Mr. Kishan Karunakaran, CEO of Buyofuel

The fifth largest economy and home to over 1.3 billion people, India has emerged as the brightest spot on the world map. The country has advanced significantly in terms of achieving economic resilience, infrastructure development, manufacturing abilities and has strengthened its global stature.

As it continues to climb up the ladder, it also has the added responsibilities to contribute and lead the globe towards sustainable development. The ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and raging global issues have pushed the world towards an energy crisis.

Today, India has the right chance to set the right examples to combat climate change and achieve energy security. The focus has already shifted to alternative sources of energy, and biofuel is definitely one of them which can help to meet energy needs, cut reliance on fossil fuels and imports and fossils, empower farmers and ensure sustainable development.

India’s sustainability goals are clear. As per the updated NDC, the country is committed to reducing its emissions intensity of its GDP by 45 per cent by 2030 from the 2005 level and achieving about 50 per cent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030.

It must be noted that India is the 3rd largest consumer of primary energy after the US and China. Thus, its switch to clean alternatives like biofuels to reduce carbon footprint can create an everlasting positive impact on the sustainability mission.

The country is still largely dependent on fossil fuels, and as per the draft Economic Survey 2021-22, coal demand is set to peak by 63% by the year 2030 and will be in the range of 1.3-1.5 billion tonnes.

Undoubtedly, this is the right time to increase reliance on biofuels. It is encouraging that the Indian government recognizes the value of biofuels for India’s energy security.  Its E20 target will help India to meet its target of 20 per cent ethanol blended in petrol by the year 2025.

Additionally, India is also likely to push for an international biofuel alliance during its G20 presidency and to be ready with 20%ethanol blended petrol at select fuel pumps by 2023.

Biofuels have many advantages. India is one of the largest producers of agricultural waste, and more than half of it is burned or is left unused. The menace of air pollution, especially in the National Capital due to stubble burning can be avoided if agricultural waste is utilised and turned into biofuels for use, benefitting both people and the environment.

This can bring many financial advantages for farmers and contribute to their empowerment as well. Technology as an enabler in increasing biofuel usage, technology will play an enabling role and will accelerate this switch.

There is a need for digitalisation of the entire supply chain. Leveraging new-age tech solutions for a resilient supply chain, increased production, efficiency and streamlined operations is the need of the hour.

It will contribute to maintaining the demand-supply ratio. To ensure that India swiftly increases reliance on alternatives like biofuels, waste-to-fuel technologies will require attention. Better partnerships between policymakers, industries, academia and farmers, new avenues for investments and collaborations, financial assistance and subsidies to biofuels producers and consumers can make change happen very fast.

Also, local productions of biofuel can further contribute to the development of local economies, contributing to job generation as well. India’s energy needs are growing.

The country is set to overtake China in terms of population very soon. It may quickly take the 3rd spot as the largest economy. The energy demands will peak, and it is very crucial that the country takes responsible steps to ensure its future security.

India has to cut dependence on fossil fuels and energy imports, and biofuels are definitely the right step in the right direction.


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