Fuelling Growth: Biofuel Investment Opportunities in India

Posted On - 4 December, 2023 • By - King Stubb & Kasiva


India is currently at a crucial juncture in its energy transition, with biofuels emerging as a potential avenue to help the country meet its goals of achieving net-zero emissions by 2070[1] and acquiring half of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.[2] The formation of the Global Biofuels Alliance (GBA) during India’s G20 presidency further underscores the country’s commitment to promoting the sustainable use of biofuels.[3]

The appeal of biofuels stems from their ability to provide cost-effective, dependable, ecologically conscious, and modern energy for all, perfectly aligning with the concepts of a circular economy and alleviating concerns about climate change. Biofuels have the potential to significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions when compared to fossil fuels, offering India an attractive opportunity to alleviate energy insecurity, drive economic growth, and combat climate change.

India’s biofuel development is driven by its agricultural expertise, which is backed up by an abundance of biomass resources such as agricultural waste, forestry residues, and urban garbage. Because of the abundance of feedstock, biofuels have the potential to become a more environmentally sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. Because of the country’s unique agrarian composition, bioenergy potential is significant. India can ensure a sustainable future, diversify its energy sources, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using agricultural and forestry residues in a variety of ways, such as through biomass gasification, biofuel production, and biogas generation.

This article aims to highlight the investment opportunities in biofuels in India in the following manner:

  • Investment Potential and Returns
  • Government Backing and Policies
  • Challenges and Innovative Solutions

Investment Potential and Returns

The biofuel market in India offers significant opportunities for investors, including profitable returns and opportunities to positively improve sustainability. Combining the country’s abundant biomass resources with the government’s solid commitment to biofuels, the industry has the potential for significant growth in the coming years.

A rise in daily biogas and compressed biogas (CBG) production from 1151 MT to 1750 MT by 2025 illustrates India’s rapid expansion of biofuel production capacity.[4] This expansion is being driven by favourable government policies, strong political support, and the availability of feedstock. The National Policy on Biofuels establishes financial incentives for new and expanded biofuel facilities, as well as ambitious ethanol and biodiesel blending targets.[5] The industry has significant potential for foreign investors as they have the capacity to develop over 5,000 biogas facilities worth more than $200 billion.

Favorable Investment Environment

The policy framework for biofuels in India, including the National Policy on Biofuels, the Ethanol Blended Petrol Program[6], the National Biodiesel Mission[7] and other incentives, creates an investor-friendly environment. The government has established a variety of incentives, such as preferential pricing, tax rebates, and subsidies, to encourage investments in infrastructure and biofuel production. Furthermore, the government’s adoption of ambitious blending targets for ethanol and biodiesel has worked to boost demand and create market opportunities for biofuel producers.

Diversified Investment Opportunities

Investing in the biofuel industry offers numerous opportunities across the value chain, including feedstock cultivation and processing, biofuel production, and distribution. Investors can look at opportunities in a range of industries, including:

  • Feedstock Production: Investing in the production and refining of biomass feedstocks, such as sugarcane, jatropha, and agricultural residues, allows one to directly enter the biofuel industry.
  • Biofuel Production: The creation of biofuel refineries and manufacturing facilities provides a potential avenue for capitalizing on the value generated during the conversion of biomass into biofuels such as biodiesel and ethanol.
  • Biofuel Distribution and Retail: Investing in storage facilities, transportation networks, and retail outlets ensures the successful delivery of biofuels to customers.

Financial Returns

Investing in the biofuel industry has the potential to produce positive financial results. According to industry forecasts, biofuels such as biodiesel and bioethanol would grow at a 5% CAGR[8], indicating promising growth possibilities. Furthermore, government subsidies and incentives can supplement the financial profits of biofuel businesses.

Impact on Sustainability

Investing in biofuels brings environmental as well as economic benefits. Biofuels encourage the use of renewable energy sources, minimize greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to the development of a circular economy. By investing in biofuels, investors may contribute to a greener future by aligning their investment decisions with their ESG objectives.

Government Backing and Policies

The government of India has effectively supported the biofuels industry through a series of regulatory initiatives and financial incentives. The goal of these policies is to promote the development and broad usage of biofuels.

Key Policy Frameworks

  • The National Biofuel Policy 2022: The amended National Biofuel Policy establishes ambitious goals for ethanol blending, mandating a 20% rise by 2025-26. Furthermore, the regulation broadens the range of permitted feedstocks used in biofuel production, encouraging industry innovation and diversification.[9]
  • The Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT): This programme aims to promote the use of compressed biogas (CBG) as a transportation fuel. Its primary goal is to build 5,000 CBG plants between 2023 and 2024. SATAT provides financial assistance and infrastructure development to boost the production and use of CBG.[10]
  • National Bioenergy Programme: The National Bioenergy Programme promotes the use of biogas for heating, electricity generation, and other purposes by providing subsidies and financial help for the development of biogas facilities. The plan is aligned with India’s commitment to renewable energy and rural development.[11]

Financial Incentives and Support

  • Foreign Direct Investment (FDI): Renewable energy operations, including biofuel production and distribution, are eligible for up to 100% FDI through the automatic route.[12] This policy of openness to global investment and expertise draws foreign capital to strengthen the biofuels industry.
  • Recent Budgetary Allocations: In the Union Budget 2023, INR 350 billion was allocated for sustainable energy initiatives, including biofuels.[13] In addition, INR 100 billion had been allocated for the building of CBG plants and community-based biogas initiatives.[14]

Regulatory Framework

The Indian government has put in place a strong regulatory framework to ensure the sustainability, quality, and safety of biofuels. The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has developed standards for the production, blending, and testing of biofuels. The Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change (MoEFCC) oversees regulations governing the production and use of biofuels.

Challenges and Innovative Solutions

Despite significant government assistance, India’s biofuels industry faces significant challenges that impede its widespread use.

  • Firstly, ensuring a consistent and sustainable supply of feedstocks, including energy crops and agricultural residues, has difficulties due to competition with other industries and concerns about potential changes in land use.
  • Another barrier that biofuels face is their cost competitiveness, which is determined by factors such as increased production costs, emerging technology, and existing subsidies for traditional fossil fuels.
  • Inadequate infrastructure, such as refineries, storage facilities, and biofuel blending units, further limits the industry’s profitability.

To overcome these challenges, India’s biofuels industry is actively seeking innovative solutions.

  • The goal is to alleviate concerns about land-use change and reduce dependency on dedicated energy crops emphasizing sustainable feedstock procurement and increasing the use of agricultural residues, municipal garbage, and algae.
  • Technological advances in the field of biofuels, such as the development of synthetic fuels and cellulosic ethanol, are increasing efficiency, lowering costs, and broadening the range of available feedstocks.
  • The building of integrated biorefineries and the exploration of co-processing with fossil fuel refineries enhance resource utilization.
  • Furthermore, special governmental measures, such as blending regulations and subsidies, are being implemented to assure fairness and impartiality, while public awareness campaigns strive to incentivize sustainable consumption habits and boost demand.


India’s effort to develop biofuels represents a crucial point in its energy transition. The country has favorable investment opportunities because of its agrarian basis, which is rich in biomass resources, ambitious goals, and strong government support. The industry exhibits its dedication to sustainability goals by devising innovative ways to overcome challenges. Government policies and financial incentives, in addition to boosting investor confidence, give a mechanism to accomplish both profitability and environmental impact. India’s excellent management of the complexities associated with biofuel integration places it as a crucial partner in the global effort to shift to more environmentally sustainable energy sources, attracting significant attention from investors worldwide.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the contribution of the National Biofuel Policy 2022 to the biofuels industry?

The National Biofuels Policy 2022 mandates a rise of 20% in ethanol blending by 2025-26 and broadens allowed feedstocks, thereby fostering innovation and diversification in producing biofuels.

u003cstrongu003eWhat are the Government Schemes supporting the Indian biofuel industry?u003c/strongu003e

The government supports the biofuels industry with key programmes and regulations such as SATAT and the National Biofuel Policy 2022, as well as financial incentives such as significant budgetary allocations in the Union Budget 2023 and eligibility for up to 100 percent FDI.

What diversified investment opportunities are available in the Indian biofuel industry?

The Indian biofuel industry has numerous investment opportunities, including feedstock cultivation, biofuel production, and distribution, functioning in a favorable climate well-supported by the government.

[1]https://pib.gov.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1961797#:~:text=Union%20Minister%20of%20State%20(Independent,Prime%20Minister%20Shri%20Narendra%20Modi. x

[2] https://www.iea.org/commentaries/india-s-clean-energy-transition-is-rapidly-underway-benefiting-the-entire-world.


[4] https://www.india-briefing.com/news/understanding-the-global-biofuel-alliance-and-indias-role-within-it-29900.html/.

[5] https://mopng.gov.in/files/article/articlefiles/Notification-15-06-2022-Amendments-in-NPB-2018.pdf.

[6] https://pib.gov.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1945427#:~:text=Government%20has%20introduced%20blending%20of,and%20for%20associated%20environmental%20benefits.

[7] https://policy.asiapacificenergy.org/node/2777.


[9] https://mopng.gov.in/files/article/articlefiles/Notification-15-06-2022-Amendments-in-NPB-2018.pdf.


[11] https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1885073.

[12] https://dpiit.gov.in/sites/default/files/FDI-PolicyCircular-2020-29October2020_0.pdf.

[13] https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1901622.

[14] https://www.indiabudget.gov.in/doc/budget_speech.pdf.

King Stubb & Kasiva,
Advocates & Attorneys

Click Here to Get in Touch

New Delhi | Mumbai | Bangalore | Chennai | Hyderabad | Mangalore | Pune | Kochi
Tel: +91 11 41032969 | Email: info@ksandk.com