The oil marketing companies (OMCs) have procured 6 crore litres of biodiesel in the first 11 months of the current financial year ending March 2023, Parliament was informed on Monday.

Besides, the OMCs also procured and blended 433.60 crore litres of ethanol in petrol during the Ethanol Supply Year (ESY) 2021–22 (December 2021 to November 2022), Oil Minister HS Puri said in response to a query in the Rajya Sabha.

“Several demand and supply side interventions by the government have enabled an increase in annual domestic ethanol production capacity from 421 crore litres to approximately 1,037 crore litres in the last eight years,” the minister noted.

Puri pointed out that biofuels, including ethanol, biodiesel, compressed biogas (CBG), sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), etc., are produced from renewable resources and used in place of or blended with diesel, petrol, and other fossil fuels.

“Amendments were made to the National Policy on Biofuels in 2018, thereby allowing more feedstocks for the production of biofuels, advancing the target of 20 per cent blending of ethanol in Petrol to ESY 2025–26 from 2030, and promoting the production of biofuels in the country,” Puri added.

With concerted efforts of the government, India is now one of the leading producers of biofuels in the world, he said.

CBG Plants

The Minister said that Oil and Gas Marketing Companies (OGMCs) have issued 4,128 Letters of Intent (LoIs) to potential entrepreneurs for the procurement of compressed biogas (CBG) up to February 2023. Also, 44 bio-CNG plants under the Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) initiative have been commissioned till February 2023, with a production capacity of around 250 tonnes per day (TPD).

Green Hydrogen

The National Green Hydrogen Mission’s objective is to make India the global hub for production, usage, and export of green hydrogen and its derivatives, Puri said.

Various research and development (R&D) activities on hydrogen are being undertaken by Oil & Gas Public Sector Undertakings (OGPSUs), which have formed a Hydrogen Corpus Fund to support R&D on various facets of hydrogen, including its application as an automotive fuel, he added.

Oil and gas PSUs have also undertaken pilot projects for the production of green hydrogen with a production capacity of 2.5 Kilo Tonnes Per Annum (KTPA). Blending of green hydrogen has started with natural gas for supplying to the township of Oil India at Jorhat.

A trial run of hydrogen fuel cell buses on tourist routes including Vadodara to Kevadiya, New Delhi to Agra, and Jorhat to Kaziranga has started, he noted.