Cabinet approves Amendments to the National Policy on Biofuels -2018

What is the News?

The Union Cabinet has approved the Amendments to the National Policy on Biofuels -2018.

What is National Policy on Biofuels-2018?

National Policy on Biofuels – 2018 was notified by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas in 2018 in supersession of the National Policy on Biofuels promulgated through the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy in 2009.

What are the amendments approved to the National Policy on Biofuels-2018?

The amendments approved are:

– To allow more feedstocks for the production of biofuels,

– To advance the ethanol blending target of 20% blending of ethanol in petrol to 2025-26 from 2030,

– To promote the production of biofuels in the country, under the Make in India program, by units located in Special Economic Zones(SEZ)/ Export Oriented Units (EoUs),

– To add new members to the National Biofuel Coordination Committee(NBCC),

– To grant permission for the export of biofuels in specific cases.

What is the present status of ethanol blending in India?

According to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, India achieved 9.45% ethanol blending as of March 2022.

The Centre projects that this will reach 10% by the end of the financial year 2022.

Why has the Ethanol blending target been advanced to 2025 from 2030? 

A 2021 report by the NITI Aayog said that 20% ethanol blending by 2025 could accrue immense benefits such as 1) Saving ₹30,000 crores of foreign exchange per year, 2) Increased energy security, 3) Lowered carbon emissions, 4) Better air quality, 5) Self-reliance, 6) Better use of damaged foodgrains and 7) Increase farmers’ incomes and investment opportunities.

Why is it so difficult to raise the ethanol blending to 20%?

A 10% blending of petrol does not require major changes to engines. But a 20% blend could require some changes and may even drive up the prices of vehicles.

A greater percentage of blending could also mean more land being diverted for water-intensive crops such as sugar cane, which the government currently subsidizes.

Source: The post is based on the article Cabinet approves Amendments to the National Policy on Biofuels -2018published in PIB on 18th May 2022.

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