Q. Why is this in news?
A. World Biofuel Day is observed on 10th August every year.
Q. Why is it celebrated?
- It is observed to raise awareness of the importance of non-fossil fuels as a substitute for conventional fossil fuels.
- Ministry of New and Renewable Energy in association with UNIDO (United Nations Development Industrial Organisation) and GEF (Global Environment Facility - a financial mechanism) launched two schemes on this occasion which are:
- Interest Subvention Scheme.
- GIS based inventory tool of organic waste streams.
- Biofuels programme is also in synergy with Government of India’s initiative of Atmanirbhar Bharat.
Q. What is the theme for 2021?
- It is based on the promotion of biofuels for a better environment.
Q. What is its Significance?
- 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.
- Examples of Biofuel include ethanol, biodiesel, green diesel and biogas.
- Biofuels help in reducing the dependence on crude oil and fostering a cleaner environment.
- It also generates additional income and employment for rural areas.
- This will not only help meet India’s rural energy needs but also fulfill the rising demands for transportation.
- The use of carbon fuels will reduce carbon emissions and meet the energy requirements of the 21st century.
Q. What is Interest Subvention Scheme?
- It provides financial assistance to innovative waste to energy biomethanation projects and business models.
- The industrial organic waste-to-energy bio-methanation projects are generally capital intensive and financially sensitive to both operating costs, including waste availability, and revenue, particularly biogas yield and its utilization scenario.
- Innovations in such projects seek to improve overall energy output thereby minimizing the cost of energy generation but may lead to increase in the initial project cost at the establishment stage yet increase revenue and reduce operating costs over project’s lifetime.
- The loan scheme provides financial assistance to beneficiaries to reduce the financial burden on account of interest on the loan component faced by such demonstration projects
Q. What is Biomethanation?
- Biomethanation is a process by which organic material is microbiologically converted under anaerobic conditions to biogas.
- Three main physiological groups of microorganisms are involved: fermenting bacteria, organic acid oxidizing bacteria, and methanogenic archaea.
- Microorganisms degrade organic matter via cascades of biochemical conversions to methane and carbon dioxide.
Q. What are the Govt Initiatives to Promote Biofuels?
- Blending of biofuels: Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) programme, Administrative price mechanism for ethanol, Simplifying the procurement procedures by Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs), amending the provisions of Industries (Development & Regulation) Act, 1951 etc are some of the initiatives taken to promote blending of biofuels.
- Researchers at the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) are developing a method to use cyanobacterium for biofuel production.
- Recently, the Central government has also allowed the conversion of surplus rice to ethanol.
- Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN Yojana, 2019: To create an ecosystem for setting up commercial projects and to boost Research and Development in 2G Ethanol sector
- GOBAR (Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources) DHAN scheme: It focuses on managing and converting cattle dung and solid waste in farms to useful compost,biogas and bio-CNG, thus keeping villages clean and increasing the income of rural households.
- Repurpose Used Cooking Oil (RUCO): It was launched by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and aims for an ecosystem that will enable the collection and conversion of used cooking oil to biodiesel.
- National Policy on Biofuels, 2018: It expands the scope of raw material for ethanol production by allowing use of sugarcane juice, sugar containing materials like sugar beet, sweet sorghum, starch containing materials like corn, cassava, damaged food grains like wheat,broken rice, rotten potatoes, unfit for human consumption for ethanol production.