The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), India's National Standards Body, is committed to the development of relevant standards, ensuring quality and compatibility in the realm of biofuels. This commitment mirrors the objectives of the Global Biofuel Alliance (GBA), an international forum initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the G20 leaders’ summit held in New Delhi.
BIS has executed notable achievements in formulating nine Indian Standards for biofuels, covering biogas, fuel (Blend of Anhydrous Ethanol and Gasoline), Ethanol, Anhydrous Ethanol, an admixture of anhydrous ethanol and gasoline, Biodiesel B-100, Hydrous ethanol, Biodiesel Diesel Fuel Blend, and Aviation turbine fuel.
The BIS is also working on standards for paraffinic (green) diesel derived from 2G feedstock, including agricultural residues like cotton stalk, cane trash, rice as well as wheat straw, etc.
These standards are expected to help India achieve its goal of net-zero emissions by 2070 and increase its renewable energy sources to 50%. These standards will also promote the “Make in India” initiative, the waste-to-wealth conversion, and improve farmer incomes.
Blending ethanol with petrol is a strategic shift that can help India reduce its fossil fuel dependence and save money. An estimated $4 billion in savings is expected to result from blending ethanol up to 20% with gasoline.
India, the United States, and Brazil are the world’s top producers and consumers of biofuels, reportedly. The global ethanol market, which was estimated to be worth USD 99 billion in 2022, is anticipated to expand at a compounded annual growth rate of 5% by 2032, providing significant opportunities for Indian businesses, farmers, and workers.
Indian Oil Manufacturing Companies (OMCs) are building new distilleries for both 1G and 2G ethanol. The Indian government has also introduced an interest subsidy scheme to promote ethanol production from molasses and grain-based distilleries. India is also planning to introduce Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) that can run on ethanol-blended gasoline of up to 85%, following the successful models in the United States and Brazil.
With its abundant biomass feedstock resources, India is favorably positioned for biofuel production, offering potential cost savings, energy security, and environmental benefits. Additionally, biofuels drive technological innovations, such as Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). SAF, made from renewable sources, can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from flights, contributing to a greener aviation industry.
India’s commitment to developing biofuel standards and its participation in the GBA represents a significant step toward achieving clean energy goals, reducing fossil fuel dependence, and supporting various national objectives. Encountered challenges, such as infrastructure development and awareness campaigns can be addressed through sustained efforts and investment.