“There is a huge growth potential of biofuel business in India from the present Rs 6,500 crore to Rs 1 lakh crore in the next 10 years,” Pradhan said while addressing the national conference here on ‘Energy Security for India – Creating a Bio-fuel Economy’ on the occasion of World BioFuel Day.
He said biofuels can play an important role in reducing import of crude by 10 per cent by 2022, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
India’s energy consumption is increasing and it has become the third largest consumer in the world.
“Shifting the fuel consumption profile to biofuels derived from domestic feedstocks would lead to decrease in this dependence on crude oil imports. In the last two years, a lot of work has been done in ethanol blending programme, biodiesel as well as using the biowaste for converting to energy, but more needs to be done speedily,” the minister said.
“The biofuel programme has the capacity to provide better remuneration for farmers, address environmental concerns, reduce dependence on imports and help in foreign exchange savings,” he said.
Laying down the vision for the growth and development of the biofuel sector, Power Minister Piyush Goyal, who was also present at the occasion, said the sector faces the challenge of sustainable availability of feedstock for the biofuel generation plants.
Biofuels would provide a sustainable way to convert human-generated wastes to energy and reduce pollution as well, Goyal said.
Indian Oil Corporation and other firms have identified 10 locations for setting up 2G ethanol plants with an estimated investment of Rs 5,000 crore, a statement from the Ministry of Petroleum said.
Private players like CMC Bio-refineries, Praj Industries, Munzer, Novozymes and Shell have also announced an investment of Rs 5,000 crore in biofuels in India.
The biodiesel blending programme, which was started on August 10, 2015, as a pilot project in five cities, has now been extended to six states and biodiesel-blended diesel is sold through nearly 2,200 retail outlets in the country.