Biofuel: Uses, Challenges and Present scenario in India

Posted by Global technology interface on April 11, 2022

Energy plays a vital role in the economic growth of any country. Current energy supplies in the world are unsustainable from environmental, economic, and societal standpoints. All over the world, governments have initiated the use of alternative sources of energy for ensuring energy security, generating employment, and mitigating CO? emissions. Biofuels have emerged as an ideal choice to meet these requirements. Biofuels are great alternatives for the conventional petroleum fuels and are renewable, non-toxic and easily biodegradable. They put a lesser impact on carbon emission and have a very low sulphur content which is an indicator of good quality fuel. The best quality of biofuels is that they can be blended with gasoline and can also be used as an individual fuel. This is responsible for the cost reduction and increased performance of the engines. Huge investments in research and subsidies for production are the rule in most of the developed countries. India started its biofuel initiative in 2003. This initiative differs from other nations' in its choice of raw material for biofuel production--molasses for bioethanol and nonedible oil for biodiesel. 


Biomass energy is the utilization of organic matter present and can be utilized for various applications.

> Biomass can be used to produce heat and electricity, or used in combined heat and power (CHP) plants.

>Biomass can also be used in combination with fossil fuels (co-firing) to improve efficiency and reduce the build up of combustion residues.

>Biomass can also replace petroleum as a source for transportation fuels.


The advantages of biogas are many and significant: bio-energy can greatly contribute to reducing greenhouse gases as they have the possibility of reducing the need to use fossil fuels.


Biomass is highly diverse in nature and classified on the basis of site of origin, as follows:

1. Field and Plantation Biomass

2. Industrial Biomass

3. Forest Biomass

4. Urban Waste Biomass

5. Aquatic Biomass


The Indian Government is determined to organize its energy mix to increase natural gas component from current 6.5% to 15% by 2030. This led to the launch of schemes like Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) which envisages setting up 5,000 compressed bio-gas (CBG) units across the country to produce 15 million tonnes of CBG by 2023. Transport sector, railways and Industries are the major end-users in India.


>CBG (compressed form of bio-gas) is produced from biomass feedstock such as agricultural residue, cattle dung, sugarcane press mud, municipal solid waste, sewage treatment plant waste, etc.

>Compressed Bio-Gas networks can be integrated with city gas distribution (CGD) networks to boost supplies to domestic and retail users in existing and upcoming markets.

>Since properties of CBG are similar to Compressed natural Gas (CNG), it can replace CNG in automotive, industrial and commercial areas.

>Solid by-products of CBG can be used as bio-manure which can enhance agricultural output. 


Challenges faced for biofuel production in India

  • >In India, sugarcane molasses is the major resource for bioethanol production and inconsistency of raw material supply holds the major liability for sluggish response to blending targets.
  • >Cyclicality of sugar, molasses, and ethanol production resulted in a fuel ethanol program which suffered from inconsistent production and supply.
  • >Drastic fluctuation in pricing of sugar cane farming and sugar milling resulted in huge debt to farmers by mill owners. Gradually the farmers shifted from sugarcane cultivation to other crops.
  • >Regulatory and policy approaches on excise duty on storage and transportation of ethanol and pricing strategy of ethanol compared to crude oil are to be revised and implemented effectively.


However, a coherent, consistent, and committed policy with long-term vision can sustain India's biofuel effort. This will provide energy security, economic growth, and prosperity and ensure a higher quality of life for India.


Indian Scenario on biofuel

India is the 7th largest ethanol producing country in the world. The Indian government aims to reduce its 10% of crude oil imports by2022. India is currently producing ethanol and biodiesel at a remarkable amount while biobutanol and biohydrogen production are at a budding stage.


India has a number of biogas plants but still the country is far away from the commercialization of biogas. India has implemented a biofuel policy in 2018, which mainly aims in the production of second generation biofuels. Energy requirements of the country are increasing day by day; the price of crude petroleum oil is unstable so the dependency on crude oil can influence the economy when price hikes. In this scenario, it is important that India should be energy independent, to sustain in the world economy. Biofuelproduction will also increase farmer's income by adding value addition to the agricultural crop residues. Every year during winters in the northern region of the country, the environment is suffering from air pollution and citizens are becoming victims of respiratory diseases due to stable burning of the agricultural wastes, use of agriculture waste will save the people and environment’s health.


Biofuels still need to go a long way, which is currently at the budding stage. The need of biofuel is at a high demand but effective technologies are needed to increase the productivity and meet the desired requirements. In India, the biofuel policy is a new ray of hope for the biofuel industry; this can be a game changer in the biofuel sector. 

Facebook LinkedIn Twitter

OTHER blog

Get Our Latest Updates

©Copyright 2022 Global Business Inroads

This website uses cookies to collect analytical data to enhance your browsing experience Please accept our cookies or read our Privacy policy