OPINION: Grasping at straws – Pathetic state of biofuels in India


OPINION: Grasping at straws – Pathetic state of biofuels in India

For the past several winters, Delhi has drawn global attention for its life-threatening smog levels. This is attributed, in part, to the open burning of biomass residues like paddy straw and stubble in the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana.

Ironically, while these residues can contribute to lethal levels of air pollution when burnt, they can in fact reduce air pollution if converted to biomass-based fuels. So, with a no-brainer solution to the capital’s annual problem, what has held back its implementation?

The biofuels story so far in India has been pretty underwhelming, despite commendable efforts initiated by the government over the last decade and a half.

The Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme (EBP), launched in 2003, aimed at promoting five per cent blending of molasses-based ethanol with petrol. In 2008, the EBP further pushed the blending target to 10 per cent and allowed production from sugarcane juice as well. Read More

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