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India Likely to Have National Biofuels Policy in Place in Several Months

Speaking at the EC’s International Conference on Biofuels in Brussels (earlier post), India’s New and Renewable Energy Minister Vilas Muttemvar said that his country’s national biofuels policy will “likely be in place in a few months time from now.

The program will mandate a 5% renewable component in fuels by 2012, increasing to 10% by 2017, with higher levels to come thereafter. The program will also establish minimum support prices for jatropha and other non-edible oilseeds. Nine states and the Union Territory already have 5% ethanol blending in gasoline.

The policy, said Minister Muttemvar, has to balance food security and energy security.

We cannot afford the conversion of cereals and other foods to ethanol, or use edible oils for biodiesel as is being proposed in some countries.

—Minister Muttemvar

For biodiesel, India’s current feedstock of choice is jatropha, and the country is undertaking a massive expansion of jatropha cultivation for biofuel purposes.

India’s current feedstock for ethanol production is mainly molasses, and the country has sufficient supplies from its sugar industry to meet the 5% target, Muttemvar said. However, to increase the blending proportion to 10%, the country will need to develop cellulosic ethanol capabilities.

Research and development has been mounted on such feedstock [lignocellulosic biomass] and production.

—Minister Muttemvar

Muttemvar said that India looked forward to working with the  European Union and all participating countries to achieve its biofuel goals. India’s priorities for co-operation include work on increasing crop yields and the oil content of oilseeds, and on reducing the environmental impact of biofuel use.



Good news. It would be interesting to see how India plans to address their electric power needs. It seems that by addressing clean power generation now, transition to electric transportation and heating/cooling will avoid some demand for biofuel feedstocks.

Max Reid

In this regard, India should follow China rather than Brazil, since it has a huge population and a small land area.

Everyone can buy a vehicle, but cannot use it for daily commute and instead use it for weekend shopping.

Bus transport should be improved to carry the masses.

Reality Czech

It appears that India, like most everyone else, is going at the problem backwards.  They first decided to use ethanol, and then worried about how to get it.  They should instead have found what energy sources are available, and then worked out how best to use them.  Solar PV is already cheaper for lighting in the Indian villages than kerosene for lamps.  Perhaps research would show that PV-electric bicycles would be cheaper than ethanol, but the backwards process would never get that far.

Vin Diesel

India simply has too many people for everyone to be driving a car on its limited roads. It needs to develop more light rail projects like the Delhi Metro in order to effectively transport the people in its teeming cities. Unfortuntately, Delhi is the only city that is making effective progress on this front. Mumbai has an antiquated rail system and a road network at breaking point-- it needs underground rail sooner rather than later but political leadership is lacking.

Phani Mohan

The Govt should also give permission for self use of Ethanol/Diesel to the manufacturing entity.
an european and American Policy of Retailing should be given to manufacturer rather than be dictated by Oil corporates.

This would save a lot of Logistic costs of Blending by these and also help rural economies gain advantage as most Distillation and feed stocks are available there.

we should come out of clutches of regulators.


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