Hardeep Singh Puri, the minister of petroleum and natural gas on Monday said that the government has revised its target to achieve 20% ethanol blending to 2025-26 from 2030. He was speaking at Global Conference on Compressed Biogas.

In order to reduce carbon emissions, enhance domestic energy security, and reduce import dependency on fuel, the government introduced the ethanol blending programme in 2003. In 2018, another programme National Policy on Biofuels was launched with an aim to produce bioethanol that would be blended with petrol in order to reduce pollution. The policy envisages an indicative target of 10% ethanol blending in petrol by 2021-22 and 20% ethanol blending in petrol by the year 2025.  In June last year, the government said the country has achieved the target of 10% blending under the programme ahead of the targeted timelines of November 2022.

Ratings agency ICRA says ethanol blending would reduce vehicular emissions, strengthen energy security, help reduce oil imports and conserve forex reserves. Besides, other benefits include controlling excess sugar supply in the country, as approximately 65% of total ethanol production comes from molasses-based distilleries.

Meanwhile, on Monday, Puri also said the government has set the target to increase the share of gas in the energy mix up to 15% by 2030. Highlighting the need for alternative fuels, the union minister said, "Considering the limited domestic availability of fossil fuels and import dependence for this, the energy security of the country will remain vulnerable until alternative fuels to substitute/supplement fossil fuels are developed based on indigenously sustainable renewable feedstock."

The minister said the production of compressed biogas would have multiple benefits viz. reduction of natural gas imports, reduction of GHG emission, reduction in the burning of agriculture residues, providing remunerative income to farmers, employment generation, effective waste management etc. “Government of India has set a target to increase the share of gas in the energy mix up to 15% in 2030 to make India a Gas-based economy. Presently we are importing around 50% of our requirement of Natural gas. The speedy expansion of CBG will help in meeting our additional requirement from domestic resources,” he added.

The minister also shared India’s ambitious target to set up 5,000 commercial plants by 2024- 25 and produce 15 MMT of CBG, which would replace other gaseous fuels being used in the country. "India had commissioned 46 compressed biogas plants under SATAT (Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation) Scheme and there were 100 outlets currently dispensing the compressed biogas across the country," he said.

"Under SATAT initiative various waste streams such as animal dung, agricultural residues, MSW (Municipal Solid Waste), sewage water and industrial wastes such as press mud, spent wash from the sugar industry, food processing industry etc. is being looked into as feedstock for the production of Biogas/CBG," Puri added.

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