India’s Energy Security, Climate Resilience with Biofuel

India’s commitment to combating climate change, evidenced by its participation in the Paris Agreement and  recent climate pledges  at COP26, lays the groundwork for a greener and more sustainable future. One of the key aspects of India’s climate strategy is the pledge to achieve net zero emissions by 2070. As energy production is a major contributor to greenhouse gases, focusing on cleaner and more sustainable energy sources is of utmost importance. Fortunately, India is blessed with abundant biomass resources, which positions the country favorably for the sustainable production of biofuels.  This is not in line with global climate goals, but also reflects the goal of the national biofuel policy to achieve energy independence. Biofuels include several options, such as compressed biogas (CBG), biodiesel, sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), and green electricity, which are often produced in today’s sugar refineries. 

  Biofuel for sugar factories

   India’s effort to blend 12% bioethanol with gasoline was successful and cost-effective, saving ₹53,894  in foreign exchange and reducing CO2 emissions by 318,000 tonnes. These achievements have made India  a serious player in the transition to cleaner energy sources.    The transformation of sugar factories into integrated biorefinery complexes is a significant step towards the production of environmentally friendly fuel and bioelectricity from waste. Among the various biofuels, bioethanol has already gained considerable influence and  international attention. The development of bioethanol blending, with a target of 15 percent by next year, shows India’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions and limiting dependence on fossil fuel imports. Having overcome initial challenges related to  availability and acquisition of raw materials, these achievements are the result of joint efforts by the government and other stakeholders that laid the foundation for eco-efficient growth.   

Sustainable supply of raw materials

    A strategic focus on diverse ethanol sources combined with high crop productivity ensures  sustainable feedstock availability that benefits both the environment and the agricultural economy. Ethanol derived from sugar cane of the first generation stands out for its low emissions of greenhouse gasses, which are only a third of the emissions from the use of grain. In addition, it has the highest water use efficiency because it produces approximately twice as much ethanol per unit of water compared to grain. In addition, it shows the best land use, yielding more than 1.5 times more per year than cereals. India’s commitment to first and even second generation (2G) ethanol production using agricultural/forestry waste and residues as feedstock underlines India’s focus on sustainable and environmentally friendly biofuels.

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