- The Union Cabinet has approved National Policy on Bio-fuels – 2018.
- Categorization: The Policy categorizes bio-fuels as
▪ “Basic Bio-fuels” viz. First Generation (1G) bio-ethanol & biodiesel.
▪ “Advanced Biofuels” – Second Generation (2G) ethanol, Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to drop-in fuels, Third Generation (3G) biofuels, bio-CNG, etc.
- Scope of raw materials:
The Policy expands the scope of raw material for ethanol production by allowing the use of Sugarcane Juice, Sugar containing materials like Sugar Beet, Sweet Sorghum, Starch containing materials like Corn, Cassava, Damaged food grains like wheat, broken rice, Rotten Potatoes, unfit for human consumption for ethanol production.
- Viability gap funding:
With a thrust on advanced biofuels, the policy indicates a viability gap funding scheme for 2G ethanol Bio refineries of Rs.5000 crore in 6 years in addition to additional tax incentives and a higher purchase price as compared to 1G bio-fuels.
- Boost to biodiesel production: The Policy encourages the setting up of supply chain mechanisms for biodiesel production from non-edible oilseeds, used cooking oil, short gestation crops.
Classification of Bio-fuels:
1st generation biofuels are also called conventional biofuels. They are made from things like sugar, starch, or vegetable oil. Note that these are all food products. Any bio-fuel made from a feed-stock that can also be consumed as a portion of human food is considered a first-generation biofuel.
2nd generation biofuels are produced from sustainable feedstock. The sustainability of a feed-stock is defined by its availability, its impact on greenhouse gas emissions, its impact on land use, and its potential to threaten the food supply.
No second-generation biofuel is also a food crop, though certain food products can become second-generation fuels when they are no longer useful for consumption. Second-generation biofuels are often called “advanced biofuels.”
3rd generation biofuels are bio-fuel derived from algae. These biofuels are given their own separate class because of their unique production mechanism and their potential to mitigate most of the drawbacks of 1st and 2nd generation bio-fuels.