India’s EV wave is the future but Biofuels are changing the game now!, Auto News, ET Auto

 The study developed a new process for the production of ethanol, an established fuel that decarbonizes the transportation sector and can be a building block to reduce emissions of CO2 over the long term.
The study developed a new process for the production of ethanol, an established fuel that decarbonizes the transportation sector and can be a building block to reduce emissions of CO2 over the long term.

Rising crude oil import bills have pushed the Indian government to look for other alternatives fuel sources such as Ethanol and Biodiesel. On our journey to majority electrification, biofuels are a legitimate way to a more sustainable fuel industry. Currently, the transport sector, railways and aviation are the major end-users of biodiesel in India. As per a FY2021 quarterly update, India’s biodiesel market demand stood at 0.17 million tonnes despite major setbacks due to the pandemic induced disruption in supply chains. The report predicted a healthy growth of 8.60% CAGR until 2030, with a forecasted demand set to reach 0.26 million tonnes.

Initiation of the 2019 National Policy on Biofuels and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India’s (FSSAI) Repurposed Used Cooking Oil (RUCO) project have further encouraged legacy players and startups alike to jump on the bandwagon. With India’s primary energy demand set to double by 2040, the use of alternative fuels such as Biodiesel is bound to grow as well. These fuels also help reduce the environmental impact as the end product is 95% carbon-free on average. Used cooking oil, animal fats, imported crude vegetable oils and Jatropha seeds are used to produce alternative fuels such as Biodiesel.

But with India only contributing to 1% of the global biofuel production, alternative fuels are still a niche in our country. That is where the Central Government is providing support to domestic players such as Mumbai-based UCO aggregator, Aris Bioenergy, to invest and tap into the market’s potential. ‘Since 2018 we are developing the aggregation system in Maharashtra and a few other states such as Karnataka, Telangana and Gujarat. We are aggregating feedstock such as UCO and supplying them to refineries that are converting it into biodiesel. These refineries are recognised by the FSSAI to produce biodiesel from UCO. We are also in a joint venture with GreenFuels UK to build twenty biodiesel refineries in India. Our first conversion plant will come up in Khopoli which will use UCO and other feedstock from Maharashtra to make biodiesel.’ Mr Umesh Waghdhare, Managing Director of ARIS BioEnergy said during an exclusive interaction with TOI Auto.

Speaking on aggregation potential in India, Waghdhare said that in and around urban cities of India, for every 10+ lakh population, we can expect 30,000 kgs of used cooking oil that can be used to make biodiesel. Since 2019, Aris Bioenergy has converted 16,00,000 (lakh) kgs of UCO in Maharashtra itself. In the same time frame, other major players such as Universal Biofuels set a record by delivering 20 million litres of Biodiesel to domestic oil marketing companies in FY2021. Hence the potential for aggregating biofuels in India is immense.

Waghdhare further stated, ‘The government is aiming for more than 5% blend of biodiesel in normal diesel used in vehicles. GOI further has a 105 crore litre open tender for the supply of biodiesel produced from UCO. A demand that has not even been met at 5% up till now. So that is a humongous target for the whole industry. The concept has been proven in European countries like Germany where B5, B10 and B20 blends of diesel and petrol are being used.’ Sustainable fuels such as Biodiesel can be blended with their fossil counterparts in several form factors. They help run a cleaner combustion cycle and do not harm an engine. From transport, and railways to aviation. Alternative fuels are set to mark a growing presence.

Bottom line is, that biofuels have the potential to change India’s energy spend and consumption. The demand is there but production and supply are not where it needs to be. However, major players like Biomax Fuels, Universal Biofuels and startups like Aris Bioenergy are hot on the trail. While the passenger vehicles sector rides its electric wave, the biofuel industry is building its own foundations with sustainable fuels that can serve India’s energy requirements in real-time.