India's bio-fuel biz has huge potential, observes Pradhan
Speaking at the National Conference on the World Bio-Fuel Day in the capital, he said that the Prime Minister has set a target of 10 per cent import reduction in crude by 2022 and bio-fuels can play an important role in achieving the target. Shifting the fuel consumption profile to bio-fuels derived from domestic feed stocks would lead to decrease in this dependence on crude oil imports.
Pradhan said in the last 2 years, lot of work has been done in Ethanol Blending Programme, Bio-Diesel as well as using the Bio-waste for converting to energy but more needs to be done speedily. India’s energy consumption is increasing very fast and it has become the third largest consumer in the world. The topic was also highlighted that the Bio-fuel programme has the capacity to provide better remuneration for farmers, address environmental concerns, reduce dependence on imports and help in foreign exchange savings.
The Petroleum Minister said the government is willing to provide conducive policy environment to support development of Bio-fuel but import of raw material or waste for this purpose cannot be allowed. Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State (I/C) for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines, Piyush Goyal said, "Rapid strides have been made in the last two years in the field.
Viability Gap Funding Scheme for the sector can be evolved in consultation with the stakeholders."
Further, the minister laid down a vision for the growth and development of the bio-fuel sector. He called for organising an international competition, under the aegis of the MoPNG, MNRE and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), and invite stakeholders from all around the world to brainstorm and devise innovative technologies and novel ideas to integrate the use of bio-fuels in the lives of the common man.
Goyal said that speed, skill and scale are important for success of any programme and they should be included in the Bio-fuel programme also. He further added, "Bio-fuels are closely linked to increasing the quality of life of the common man as they would provide a sustainable way to convert human generated wastes to energy and reduce pollution as well." The minister pointed out that a major challenge that the sector faces is the sustainable availability of feedstock for the bio-fuel generation plants.
On the occasion of Bio-fuel World Day, National Conference on ‘Energy Security for India – Creating a Bio-fuel Economy’ was organised. The World Bio-fuel Day is celebrated every year to commemorate the anniversary of the successful working of a diesel engine, run on peanut oil, by German innovator Rudolf Diesel in 1893. The National conference brought together stakeholders of the Bio-fuel sector viz, the government, public sector undertakings and the private sector.
Investment announcements were made by private equity and public sector oil marketing companies.
IOC, BPC, HPC and NRL have identified 10 locations for setting up 2G ethanol plants with an estimated investment of Rs 5000 crore. Private players like CMC Bio-refineries, Praj Industries Ltd, Munzer, Novozymes and Shell have also announced an investment of Rs 5000 crore in the field of Bio-fuels in India.
The conference aimed at accelerating the bio-fuel programme in the country and draw up a road map to reduce the consumption of fossils fuels by replacing it with locally produced bio fuels thus reducing the foreign exchange out flow, generate rural employment and protect environment.