India adds excess crops, widens input pool in new biofuels guidelines


India's government has approved a new national biofuels policy that permits the use of excess crops and a wider pool of inputs for biofuel production, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas said Wednesday.

The policy was approved at a meeting of the country's Union Council of Ministers chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the ministry said in a statement.

The policy includes a classification system that defines first, second and third generation biofuels and details the incentives for producing each grade, as well as the support available for domestic crop farmers.

It expands the scope of the raw materials permitted for fuel ethanol production in India to cover sugarcane juice, sugar including sugar derived from sugar beet, sorghum, corn, cassava and damaged grains unfit for human consumption like wheat, broken rice and potatoes.

To provide farmers with price support during years of excess crop production, the policy permits the use of surplus grain in ethanol production for blending into gasoline with the approval of the National Biofuel Coordination Committee.

The policy also aims to encourage second generation biofuel production and usage through a mixture of government funding of around Indian Rupees 5,000 crore ($737.8 million), tax incentives and higher purchase prices.

It also notes the importance of using wastes like used cooking oil and non-edible oilseeds and advocates the setting up of supply chains to collect waste products. The diversion of UCO from reuse in food to biodiesel is also encouraged.

The policy recognizes that solid waste can also be converted to fuel, which could potentially form 20% of the fuel pool in the country. However, it stops short of allocating resources to waste supply chain formation and conversion.


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