a conference on bio-fuel exhibition in Pune on 8 July, oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan said
that India can replace hydrocarbon imports worth a whopping Rs 1 lakh crore
through higher uptake of bio-fuels.
along with power, coal, renewable energy and mines minister Piyush Goyal called
for a push for the bio-fuel sector.
The ministers spoke about the government’s plan of setting up second-generation
ethanol plants across the country and Pradhan added that the conversion of
urban and rural waste into ethanol itself would reduce import bill by Rs 1 lakh
crore and the money would be used to
provide relief to the farmers.
three Oil Making Companies (OMCs) which are currently setting up 12
second-generation ethanol plants across the country would collect agriculture
waste from farmers thus increasing their earnings from the same produce and the
“I would like to take this opportunity
to assure the industry that the oil ministry will ensure that any type of
bio-fuel produced in the country will be connected to a market place and its
offtake at a good price will be assured,” Pradhan added.
Speaking at the event, Goyal praised Pradhan for increasing the country’s
ethanol-blending in petrol to five percent in two years as compared to two
percent in 2014. “Under Prime Minister Modi and oil minister Dharmendra
Pradhan, ethanol was given wings as its blending grew from two percent to five
percent in two years,” Goyal said.
Sandip Poundrik, Joint Secretary-Refineries at the oil ministry, who also spoke
at the event, talked about the limitations with first-generation bio-ethanol
and the challenges to be overcome for bio-ethanol uptake. “From 15 crore litre
of bio-ethanol produced in 2012-2013, we are currently producing 111 crore
litre of bio-ethanol. All of this is due to the slew of initiatives taken by
the oil and power ministries in the past few years,” Poundrik said.
Poundrik assured the industry that OMCs will provide assured off-take for 15
years for bio-ethanol plants setup by private investors. He also voiced concerns
about the slow pace in production of bio-diesel and suggested that used cooking
oil can be a potential feedstock for its production and the government will
come out with a policy around it soon.
“The demand of bio-ethanol right now is around 318 crore liter and we expect it
to go up to 440 crore liter by 2022. First-generation ethanol will not be able
to meet such a demand. Therefore, our focus has shifted towards 2nd and 3rd
generation ethanol. The country annually produces around 120-160 million tonne
of surplus bio-mass. If this feedstock is converted to bio-ethanol, that would
result in over 2,500- 3,000 litre of bio-ethanol which is more than enough to
meet demand,” Poundrik said.
Oil PSUs are setting up 12 second-generation ethanol bio-refineries across 11
states including Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Assam,
Odisha, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
The estimated investment for these bio-refineries stands at around Rs 10,000
crore. The bio-refineries are expected to produce around 35-40 crore liter of
ethanol annually, contributing towards the ethanol blending programme.