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Evolution of Indian Biofuels

business Updated: Jul 02, 2007 02:51 IST

Hindustan Times
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1975: India begins examining the feasibility of blending ethanol with petrol. Sets up 6 technical committees and 4 study groups.

1980: The Indian Oil Corporation conducts trials on 15 passenger cars & 21 two & three wheelers using 10% and 20% anhydrous ethanol blends.

2000: The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas initiates pilot projects in 3 Oil Depots (2 Maharashtra & 1 UP) covering 350 petrol stations to study related aspects of blending ethanol with petrol and its use.

2002: The government mandates blending of 5% ethanol in nine states and four union territories with a Rs 0.75 excise duty exemption. A Committee on Development of Biofuels is constituted.

2003: The Committee recommends strengthening the ongoing programme of blending of ethanol with petrol & launching a National Mission on Biodiesel based on jatropha plantation. Meanwhile the National Auto Fuel Policy recommends commercialisation of biofuel vehicles.

2004: Problems related to feedstock supply of molasses force the Indian government to suspend mandatory blending of ethanol in petrol.

2005: The resurgence in sugar and molasses production results in renewed interest in ethanol programme. The government fixes purchase price of ethanol by oil companies at Rs 18.25 per litre.

2006: The government announces a Biodiesel Purchase Policy, fixing the purchase price for oil companies at Rs 25 per litre. Intially, 5% biodiesel is blended with diesel, with plans to extend the blending to 20%.

2007: The National Biofuels Draft Policy envisages utilisation of a wide range of locally available bio-crops for production, setting up of a National Biofuels Development Board and revising the indicative target for 5% and 10 % biodiesel blending in diesel by 2012 and 2017 respectively. A Biofuels Mission focusing specifically on pongamia and jatropha is also launched.