Biofuel industry to see Rs 15,000-cr investments

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India is set to see investments to the tune of Rs 15,000 crore in the biofuel industry, from both public and private sectors, in the next few years. This comes at a time when the government is expecting biofuel business in the country to touch Rs 50,000 crore by 2022. The increase in industry size may also include plans to tap various new biofuel sources such as refining of used cooking oil and used lube oil.

Public-sector undertakings are set to invest Rs 4,000 crore to produce blended fuels and another Rs 5,000 crore to set up nine plants that will produce second-generation ethanol produced from sources other than molasses, like biomass.

Apart from this, Numaligarh Refinery, a subsidiary of Bharat Petroleum Corporation, would invest Rs 950 crore to set up 300,000 tonnes bio fuel plant.

Among private-sector players, Praj Industries is planning to invest Rs 3,000 crore for multiple refinery projects, CVC Bio-refinery is setting up two projects in Gujarat and Punjab for Rs 1,000 crore, and Munzer Biofuel will invest another Rs 300 crore for a bio-diesel plant in Mumbai.

Meanwhile, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Wednesday said the biofuel industry in the country would touch Rs 50,000 crore in terms of value by 2022, as demand for petrol and diesel is rising.

“With five per cent blending of biodiesel, the requirement for biodiesel will be 675 crore (6.75 billion) litres by 2022, with a value of around Rs 27,000 crore. On the other hand, ethanol requirement for 10 per cent ethanol blended petrol will be 450 crore (4.5 billion) litres with a value of Rs 23,000 crore by then,” said Pradhan, addressing a national conference on biofuel. Currently, 10 per cent ethanol blended petrol is being supplied in eight states — Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Haryana, Delhi and Bihar.

Pradhan added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan to cut dependency on imported crude oil by 10 per cent can be achieved only through further increasing the production of bio-fuel. Currently, 80 per cent of India’s crude requirement is met through imports. “India has already surpassed Japan to become the third largest energy consumer, behind the US and China. Hence, we have to reduce our import dependency,” Pradhan added.