A new resolution, titled the National policy on Biofuels was recently announced in May. The policy on bio fuels, which received the approval by the cabinet of ministers on May 16th aims at encouraging the use of second generation (2G) ethanol as a major biofuel option.
The policy aims to create a demand for crop residue like rice straw, cotton stalk, castor stalk, sugarcane trash and other starch-containing materials such as corn and cassava – increasing farmer income significantly.
“Farmers will be encouraged to grow a variety of different biomass as well as oil seeds on their marginal lands, as inter-crop and as second crop wherever only one crop is raised by them under rain fed conditions,” the policy noted.
Currently, installed capacity of biomass is only 10 GW. Anjan Ray, Director, Indian Institute of Petroleum said, “Reducing oil imports is a priority area for the policy. India imported about 220 million tonnes of crude oil last fiscal. Quite a bit of the agricultural waste in India is burned in the field and causes significant air pollution. Biomass can provide over half of our carbon requirement if properly harnessed and converted to alternative fuels.”