India’s Biofuels production program: Need for prioritizing the alternative options

Posted on May 30, 2011

The Government of India launched National Biofuel Mission in 2003, primarily with a view to explore the potential of biofuels as a cleaner source of energy and to partially offset the growing burden of crude oil import bills. This paper analyzed the economic viability and long term sustainability of bioethanol production from sugarcane molasses and commercial feasibility of biodiesel produced from tree-borne oilseeds like jatropha. Based on the analysis the paper observed that, given the slow growth in area and yield of sugarcane on the one hand and rising demand for sugar, potable and industrial demand of ethanol on the other, it is highly unlikely that the blending targets of ethanol with petrol would be met as planned by the government. To ensure long-term sustainability and economic viability of bioethanol production, it is imperative to diversify the feed stock basket by including more crops like sweet sorghum and tropical sugar beet and encourage research on industrial production of second generation biofuels. The commercial feasibility of jatropha based biodiesel largely depends on development of a proper supply chain by augmenting marketing of jatropha seeds, upgrading processing infrastructure and up-scaling biodiesel distribution.

Shinoj, P., Raju, S.S. and Joshi, P.K. (2011). India’s biofuel production programme: Need for prioritizing alternative options. Indian Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 81(5): 391-397, May, 2011.

Read the complete journal article by downloading the PDF: India’s Biofuels production program_Need for prioritizing the alternative options.