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World Biofuel day

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

World Biofuel day:


Context: World Biofuel Day is observed every year on 10th August to raise awareness about the importance of non-fossil fuels as an alternative to conventional fossil fuels.

  • The day honours the research experiments by Sir Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel (inventor of the diesel engine) who ran an engine with peanut oil in 1893.
  • In India, the day has been celebrated by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas since 2015.

The theme for 2020 World Biofuel Day in India is ‘Biofuels Towards Atmanirbhar Bharat’

What are Biofuels?

Any hydrocarbon fuel that is produced from an organic matter (living or once living material) in a short period of time (days, weeks, or even months) is considered a biofuel.

Biofuels may be solid, liquid or gaseous in nature.

  • Solid: Wood, dried plant material, and manure
  • Liquid: Bioethanol and Biodiesel
  • Gaseous: Biogas

Classification of Biofuels:

1st generation biofuels are also called conventional biofuels. They are made from things like sugar, starch, or vegetable oil. Note that these are all food products. Any biofuel made from a feedstock that can also be consumed as a human food is considered a first-generation biofuel.

2nd generation biofuels are produced from sustainable feedstock. The sustainability of a feedstock is defined by its availability, its impact on greenhouse gas emissions, its impact on land use, and by its potential to threaten the food supply. No second-generation biofuel is also a food crop, though certain food products can become second generation fuels when they are no longer useful for consumption. Second generation biofuels are often called “advanced biofuels.”

3rd generation biofuels are biofuel derived from algae. These biofuels are given their own separate class because of their unique production mechanism and their potential to mitigate most of the drawbacks of 1st and 2nd generation biofuels.

4th generation biofuels: In the production of these fuels, crops that are genetically engineered to take in high amounts of carbon are grown and harvested as biomass. The crops are then converted into fuel using second generation techniques.

biofuels

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is a biofuel?
  2. Categorisation of biofuels.
  3. Overview of National Policy on Biofuels.
  4. What is ethanol? How is it produced?

Mains Link:

Discuss the importance of biofuels for India? Critically examine whether the national policy on biofuels will help India unlock it’s biofuel potential?

Sources: pib.