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Rajya Sabha TV In Depth : Focus on Biofuel

Rajya Sabha TV In Depth : Focus on Biofuel


In May 2018, Union Government of India approved the National Biofuel Policy to encourage sustainable and alternative fuels and also to cut down its dependence on imports of fossil fuel oils. In August 2018, India has joined elite group of countries (others being US, Canada and Australia) that operate biofuel powered flights.


  • Aviation sector is one of the largest emitters of Green House Gas worldwide (at 2% of the total human induced GHG emissions). So, the sector’s transition to sustainable and renewable fuels is crucial to meet international climate targets as said in 2015 Paris Agreement.
  • The aim to use bio-jet fuel is to make air travel more economical and give a relief to air flight carriers from rising fossil fuel prices.
  • The Biofuel used to fly the aircraft of Spice Jet from Dehradun to Delhi was developed by Indian Institute of Petroleum, Dehradun using Jatropha plant seeds. Farmers from Chhattisgarh were involved in growing the plants.
  • BIOFUEL is a fuel that is produced through contemporary biological processes rather than a fuel produced by geological processes over long period of time (like fossil fuels produced from prehistoric biological matter).
  • PETROLEUM is known as Mineral oil. They are extracted from crude oil which is mined from digging Earth and then fractionating it.
  • The National policy on Biofuels of India approved in May 2018 aims to not only help farmers dispose off surplus stock in an economic manner, but also reduce India’s oil imports Rajasthan has become the first state to implement it.
  • It is said that net Carbon emissions in using biofuel is very low (as the CO2 produced in burning the fuel is neutralized by CO2 used in growing plants for biofuels in there photosynthesis process). So it is a good alternative to Aviation Turbine Fuel. Also, Biofuel is said to increase the fuel efficiency.
  • Different generations of Biofuel:

FIRST GENERATION: It is conventional biofuel derived from food crops grown on arable land. Biodiesel or Ethanol is obtained by transesterification/ fermentation of sugar, starch or vegetable oil. It is a clean has and is widely used in Brazil to run vehicles.

SECOND GENERATION: These are advanced biofuel manufactured by chemical and physical treatments of biomass. Feedstock like Jatropha, Soyabeans, Rapseed, animal fats, etc are used.

THIRD GENERATION: It uses Algae as a source of energy.

FOURTH GENERATION: It includes electrofuel and  photobiological solar fuel. They do not require destruction of biomass.

  • Biofuel can be of various types like Ethanol, Biodiesel, Bio jet fuel, Biogas, Butanol, Syngas, Bio hydrogen, etc.
  1. As a fuel in transportation.
  2. Power generation.
  • Heating
  1. Clean up oil spills and grease.
  2. Cooking.
  3. Motor lubricant and removing paints and adhesives.


Recent rise in crude oil prices and growing concerns about environment has increased interest in biofuel. Also, the crude oil is estimated to run out in coming future. Biofuel can thus be a good alternative fuel and prove to be sustainable and it demands more research in its development as a energy efficient fuel on commercial scale.