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Biofuels

Biofuels
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Indian scientists are working to develop a new model of biofuels use through application of indigenous technology and the government hopes to unveil...

Indian scientists are working to develop a new model of biofuels use through application of indigenous technology and the government hopes to unveil some results of this research in the coming days, according to Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

Under the ethanol blended petrol (EBP) programme, state-run oil marketers sell ethanol blended petrol with percentage of ethanol up to 10 per cent. Ethanol production through molasses in the country in 2016-17 is estimated to be 220 crore litres. This ethanol alcohol is used in the potable liquor sector, chemical sector and EBP programme.

In the current ethanol supply year, oil PSUs have executed agreements for the supply of 78.7 crore litres of ethanol. The government has fixed the administered price for ethanol supply for the period from December 1, 2016, to November 30, 2017, for the EBP programme at Rs 39 per litre.

Since the beginning of civilisation, humans have depended on organic materials - or “biomass” - for cooking and heat. Many developing countries in Asia and Africa still do. Biofuel or bioenergy is the chemical energy contained in biomass that can be converted into direct, useful energy sources using biological (including food digestion), mechanical or thermochemical processes.

The present liquid biofuels (bioethanol and biodiesel) are mainly produced from first generation feedstocks (such as sugarcane, maize, rapeseed) and constitute only a small fraction (1%) of present transportation energy. Second generation biofuels will come from dedicated perennial energy crops (such as miscanthus, switchgrass, agave, pongamia), and in the near future, hydrogen gas may be produced from algae, bacteria, or artificial photosynthesis to fuel hydrogen-cell powered cars.

Globally, liquid biofuels can be classified into three main production sources; maize ethanol from the United States, sugarcane ethanol from Brazil and rapeseed biodiesel from the European Union.

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