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Changing how we move

  • Published
    22nd Sep, 2023

Context:

India needs clear research and development plan to scale up ethanol production.

India's Growing Import Dependence and Bioenergy Potential

  • High Import Dependence and Energy Security: India's FY2023 import dependency on oil is 87.3%, costing 25.8% of imports.
  • Resource availability: Biomass provided up to 20% of India's total primary energy supply in the past decade, mainly for households.
  • Role of the Global Biofuel Alliance: India's G20 presidency formed the Global Biofuel Alliance, aiming to harness biomass as clean bio-energy.

Progress in Ethanol Blending

  • Future Goals: Plans to increase blending to 20% (E20) by FY25-26 are accelerated, demanding substantial investments and feedstock.
  • Challenges in Reducing Petrol Demand: A NITI Aayog report projects a 45% growth in petrol demand by 2030, necessitating solutions beyond blending.
  • Chase the alternatives: Electric vehicles (EVs) face mineral and component challenges, making biofuels and flex-fuel vehicles viable alternatives.

Scaling Up Ethanol Production and Addressing Tradeoffs

  • Focus on First-Generation Ethanol Production: India predominantly relies on first-generation ethanol production, primarily from food crops like sugarcane and grain.
  • Reducing Petrol Consumption: Policy should prioritize reducing overall petrol consumption and private demand through strategies like EV promotion.
  • Promoting Biofuels: A well-planned transition strategy can not only reduce the import bill but also aid the automotive industry's EV transition.
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