May 17: In a bid to promote the use of bio-fuels, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave the nod to the National Policy on Bio-fuels. The policy, which was drafted in 2009 by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, will help promote the use of bio-fuels across the nation, simultaneously helping the country achieve its green target.
The policy will open up various doors for the easier production of bio-fuel. It includes provision for the usage of surplus food grains for the production of ethanol, which would be mixed with petrol. Sugarcane juice and other sugar-containing materials like sugar beet, sweet sorghum, etc. will be allowed to be used as prime raw material for the production of ethanol.
Additionally, starch-containing materials like corn, cassava, etc. and damaged food grains like wheat, broken rice, and rotten potatoes, etc. that are unfit for human consumption have also been brought under the raw material list for the production of ethanol. Approval has to be obtained from National Biofuel Coordination Committee for the use of food grains as raw materials.
The policy also throws light over second-generation bio-fuels, pushing in a viability gap funding scheme of Rs 5000 crore for 2G ethanol bio-refineries in six years. Additionally, it would also cover the setting up and promotion of supply chain mechanisms for biodiesel.
The policy will benefit in reducing the overall agro waste by letting them get converted to bio fuel. With the prevention of crop burning, it would simultaneously help to reduce emission of greenhouse gas. Efficient modes of Municipal Solid Waste Management will also be ensured by the policy with the adoption of technologies to convert plastic wastes and MSW to fuel additives. Apart from falling in line with a cleaner environment outlook, the policy will also help ease the import dependency burden off the government’s shoulder.