Agri Business

Biofuels can cut India’s fuel import bill, says Novozymes CEO

Venkatesh Ganesh Bengaluru | Updated on April 12, 2018

A file photo of a biofuel information and demonstration Centre in India   -  D.B. PATIL

The mandate for ethanol blending in India has to be strengthened and a roadmap to achieve 20 per cent mix in three years formulated.

Talking to BusinessLine, Peder Holk Nielsen, President and CEO, Novozymes-South Asia, said that biofuels can be strong socio-economic change agents and make financial sense too.

Fuel imports

“ Increased use of biofuels will reduce petrol and diesel imports,” he said.

India’s fuel imports are pegged at ₹6 lakh crore. Diesel consumption could rise to 150 billion litres by 2030 from 90 billion litres currently.

Biofuels are an important component in the push for clean energy. This is critical for India which is set to outpace China as the world’s largest energy consumer.

Bio-fuel and transport

Conversion of biomass and biowaste to pellets can be a good option for gas, stated Nielsen.

For example, in Sweden, methane is being generated from sewage to make bio-CNG to run buses.

“There is an opportunity to convert buses to run on electric power or biofuels,” he noted..

Novozymes is involved in the second generation ethanol initiative by the Indian government.

This involves using plant fibrous material and agricultural residues as raw material for ethanol production. Novozymes’ enzymes help convert agricultural residues to ethanol.

Using feedstocks

Also of importance is the need for flexibility of feedstocks. Ethanol can be made from a variety of feedstock such as sugarcane, sweet sorghum and the likes, said Nielsen.

India co-leads the Mission Innovation (MI) programme — a global initiative of 22 countries and the European Union — to accelerate innovation in the area of clean energy across the world. However, there are still challenges as new biofuels still remain at an early-commercial stage of development.

Published on April 12, 2018

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