Oil Secretary Tarun Kapoor said India is an agricultural economy largely and there is a large amount of agricultural residues available, providing good scope of producing biofuels.

The government is looking at blending biogas with natural gas to boost domestic availability of biofuels and cut reliance on imports, Oil Secretary Tarun Kapoor said on Monday.

“The gas distribution sector is expanding fast and some percentage has to come from bio-sources. They cannot be completely (dependent) on LNG or domestic gas, that scope is anyway limited,” he said at a webinar on World Biofuel Day.

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The plan for biogas follows a move to mix ethanol extracted from sugarcane with petrol and doping diesel with bio-diesel extracted from non-edible oil.

Mr. Kapoor said India is an agricultural economy largely and there is a large amount of agricultural residues available, providing good scope of producing biofuels.

There are three biofuels – ethanol, bio-diesel, and biogas extracted from biomass.

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“If we are able to exploit these three, we can reduce our dependence on import of crude to a large extent and import of gas also,” he said.

He called for including appropriate technologies, involving skilled and professional manpower, and financial institutions to provide funding.

The road to cleaner air

The secretary sought the support from the State governments, as the agricultural residues and other wastes that may come from the municipal solid wastes or other forms of wastes have to be collected, segregated, managed, and then supplied to various plants for the production of biofuels.

Stakeholders, particularly farmers, need to be sensitised on the use of agri and other waste for the production of biofuels.

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Biofuels will not only help cut import dependence but also ensure a cleaner environment, generate additional income for farmers, and create jobs.

Under the ethanol blending programme, oil marketing companies have procured 113.09 crore litres of biodiesel between December 1, 2019, and August 3, 2020. Under the programme, they have increased biodiesel procurement from 1.1 crore litres during 2015-16 to 10.6 crore litres during 2019-20.

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