How India’s Global Biofuels initiative is reshaping international energy alliances: Opinion


Written by Mr. Kishan Karunakaran, CEO of Buyofuel

In a world grappling with the challenges of climate change and energy security, India has emerged as a trailblazer in reshaping international energy alliances through its ambitious Global Biofuels Initiative. This groundbreaking initiative, launched on September 9, 2023, during the G20 Summit in New Delhi, holds the promise of revolutionizing the global energy landscape.

The story of India’s foray into biofuels is not a recent one. In 2018, the Indian government launched the National Biofuels Policy, signaling its commitment to reducing the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels.

The subsequent introduction of biofuels programs such as E20 ethanol blending, PM-JIVANYojna, SATAT, and GOBARdhan scheme reinforced this commitment and set the stage for India’s bold move into the world of biofuels.

Why the urgency to shift gears in the energy landscape? The answer lies in the ever- increasing energy consumption globally. As the population and economy continue to grow, so does its energy demand.

This demand is largely met by fossil fuels, particularly oil, making most of the country vulnerable to international price fluctuations and geopolitical disruptions.

However, the issue extends beyond economics. The burning of fossil fuels, including oil, is a major contributor to carbon emissions, which have far-reaching environmental and health consequences.

Biofuels, particularly bioethanol and biodiesel, offer a unique solution to these challenges. Unlike fossil fuels, biofuels have the advantage of contributing to a net reduction in carbon emissions.

The process begins during the growth phase of the raw materials used in biofuel production, during which a substantial amount of CO2 is absorbed, effectively counterbalancing the emissions produced when biofuels are burned.

The turning point in India’s biofuel journey came on that historic day in September 2023 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alongside leaders from countries including Singapore, Bangladesh, Italy, the USA, Brazil, Argentina, Mauritius, and the UAE, launched the Global Biofuel Alliance.

This alliance is not limited to G20 nations; non-G20 countries such as Iceland, Kenya, Guyana, Paraguay, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Uganda, and Finland have expressed their interest in joining.

Moreover, several international and multilateral organizations, including the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, World Economic Forum, and others, have also demonstrated keen interest in this global biofuel initiative.

The Global Biofuel Alliance (GBA) is India’s brainchild as the G20 Chair, and it has set forth ambitious goals. The alliance aims to expedite the worldwide adoption of biofuels by facilitating technological advancements, promoting sustainable biofuel utilization, establishing robust standards and certifications, and engaging a wide range of stakeholders.

Furthermore, the GBA will serve as a central repository of knowledge and an expert hub, fostering global collaboration for the advancement and widespread adoption of biofuels.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), global biofuel production must triple by 2030 to put the world’s energy systems on track toward achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 which emphasizes the urgency of such initiatives.

Drawing parallels with the International Solar Alliance, the biofuel alliance’s core focus is on accelerating the adoption of biofuels, creating innovative biofuels, establishing globally recognized standards, identifying best practices, and ensuring active industry participation.

The global ethanol market, which was valued at $99.06 billion in 2022, is predicted to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.1% by 2032, reaching a staggering $162.12 billion by that year.

The Indian Biogas Association (IBA) has conducted a study that highlights the immense potential of a biofuel alliance among G20 countries.

The IBA estimates that such an alliance could generate opportunities worth $500 billion in the next three years. This not only promises economic benefits but also underscores the potential of biofuels to transform the energy landscape by reducing environmental implications.

Through this initiative, India is not only reshaping international energy alliances but serves as a reminder that visionary leadership, collective global collaboration, and a commitment.


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