Economics, Environment & Ecology
Why in News: The Union Cabinet advanced by five years its target for achieving 20% ethanol blending in petrol.
- The amended National Biofuel Policy-2018 has now set the new target for 2025-26 instead of 2030, apart from allowing more feedstock for the production of biofuels and export of biofuels in specific cases
National Biofuel Policy
- The National Biofuel Policy is aimed at reducing dependence on imports by encouraging fuel blending.
- With bioethanol, biodiesel and bio-CNG in focus, its key parts include the Ethanol Blending Programme (EPB), production of second-generation ethanol (derived from forest and agricultural residues), increasing capacity for production of fuel additives, R&D in feedstock, which is the starting material for ethanol production, and financial incentives for achieving these goals.
- Molasses is the sticky liquid formed during sugar production from cane juice, and depending on the percentage of sugar left, it is categorized as B heavy and C. Molasses is the feedstock used by sugar mills to produce ethanol.
- The policy also allows usage of excess rice or damaged foodgrains as feedstock for ethanol production.
- The National Biofuel Coordination Committee (NBCC), with the Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas as its head, is the agency to coordinate this blending programme.
What amendments have been made?
- The most important amendment has been advancing the 20% blending date by five years from Ethanol Supply Year (ESY) 2030 to 2025-26.
- Introduction of more feedstock for production of biofuels; production of biofuels under the ‘Make in India’ programme in Special Economic Zones, Export Oriented Units; and permission to allow export of biofuels in specific cases are some other changes.
- NBCC, the Committee has now been given the permission to change the policy which it earlier lacked.
What is the current blending status?
- As on May 8, the all India average blending as per the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas stands at 9.90%.
- Ethanol derived from sugarcane juice/sugar syrup and from C heavy molasses forms the bulk of this supply, with that from surplus rice and damaged foodgrains being a distant second.
Source: Indian Express
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