August 10, was World Biofuel Day and in line with its vision of fostering sustainable mobility, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) organized a virtual seminar on ‘Promotion of Biofuels: A Pathway for Low Carbon Mobility’.
World Biofuel Day is celebrated on August 10 each year to depict and make aware of the importance of non-fossil fuels, produced from animal waste, algae, agricultural and industrial waste, as a replacement for conventional fossil fuels.
SIAM's virtual conference comprised two sessions – ‘Technical Session-1: Ethanol Road Map: Challenges & Way Forward’ and ‘Technical Session-2: Bio-Diesel and Compressed Bio-gas Progression as Transportation Fuel’. The conference witnessed active participation from several speakers including senior Government officials, CEOs of automobile companies, and experts from the automobile, biofuel, and environment sectors.
The seminar aimed to disseminate knowledge, experience, and learning on biofuels ecosystem, especially ethanol. The conference deliberated on various aspects of ethanol production and use including shared industry best practices and understanding of the concept of ‘decarbonisation’ of the automotive sector. The discourse during the conference also provided a glimpse of upcoming policies, regulatory and legislative frameworks on biofuels.
The Ministerial Plenary Session had a recorded message delivered by Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, government of India and Pankaj Jain, Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, government of India.
Pankaj Jain: "We are looking at producing 10-12 billion litres of ethanol by 2025 and we are conscious about the dispensing of E20 fuel by as early as April 2023."
Emphasizing the need for alternate fuel and appreciating the efforts of SIAM, Pankaj Jain, Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, government of India who joined as Chief Guest at the Ministerial Plenary Session said, “We are looking at producing 10-12 billion litres of ethanol by 2025 and we are conscious about the dispensing of E20 fuel by as early as April 2023. We strongly believe that flex-fuel vehicles are going to matter in the future. The automobile sector is one sector in India that is way ahead of government policy deadlines.”
Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, government of India, said, “The key takeaways from today’s event will act as a roadmap for the transition to biofuels. The industry is working towards the PM’s Vision of ethanol-based mobility as one of the pathways for carbon neutrality and fostering sustainable mobility. Subsequently, the roadmap for ethanol blending has detailed pathways for achieving 20% blending by 2025. The result of our 10% blending is that we made foreign exchange savings of Rs 41,500 crore, timely payment of Rs 40,600 crores to farmers and reduction of 27 lakh tons of CO2 emissions'.
Arun Goel, Secretary, Ministry of Heavy Industries, government of India, the Chief Guest at the Inaugural Session said, “In the last four decades, the Indian auto industry has been successful with indigenisation of most products. The industry is at its tipping point with opportunities in entrepreneurship, market growth and emission norms. The auto industry also achieved 10% ethanol blending on a pan-India basis. We have a growing economy, and as the economy grows more, and more people use private transport, and two-wheeler consumers will shift to four-wheelers. This means the fuel consumption is also going to increase eventually, increasing the volume of emissions. Here, a strong case for renewable energy emerges. India has already achieved the target way before the deadline.”
Talking on the ‘Imperatives of Biofuels in India: Opportunities and Challenges’, Dr. SSV Ramakumar, Director, IOCL, presented his views on the opportunities and challenges involved with the usage of alternate fuels.
Rajender Petkar, Co-Chairman, SIAM Sustainable Mobility Group and President & CTO Tata Motors; K N Radhakrishnan, Chairman SIAM Two-Wheeler CEOs Council and Director & CEO, TVS Motor Company, and Satyakam Arya, CEO & MD, Daimler India Commercial Vehicle also emphasised on the usage of alternate fuel and ethanol blending in their remarks.
Session 1: Ethanol Road Map: Challenges & Way Forward
The session began with Amit Mehta, Joint Secretary, and Department of Heavy Industry. He commented, “In the backdrop of global climate crisis and trade issues, self-reliance has become one of the most important factors today. Further, ethanol-blended petrol has enormous potential as fuel in the transport sector, as decarbonisation is one of the major initiatives of the government. Its successful implementation can save up to Rs 30,000 crore per annum. Therefore, the Government and the industry stakeholders should all join hands to take the ethanol roadmap forward.”
Ashim Sharma, Sr. Partner, and Group Head, NRI, gave a thematic presentation on ‘Ethanol Road Map: Challenge & Way Forward’. The presentation provided insights into the present and future scenarios on the usage of alternate fuels.
The panel witnessed eminent panellists including Eduardo Leao De Souza, ED, UNICA; Samir S Somaiya, past president, ISMA and CMD, Godavari Biorefineries; P S Ravi, ED, BPCL; Sridhar Goud, ED, HPCL; Vikram Kasbekar, Executive Director, Hero MotoCorp and Sudeep Dalvi, Senior VP and Director, Toyota Kirloskar Motor.
Session 2: ‘Bio-diesel and Compressed Bio-gas Progression as Transportation Fuel’
Sunil Kumar: " Biofuel Day is like a pit stop for all of us to stop and look back to the year and see what we have done and how much progress we have made.”
The session began with an address by Sunil Kumar, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas. He said: “Energy security and environmental concerns are the two primary reasons driving the biofuel program globally. In India, the biofuel program is also a tool for rural development and local employment. Biofuel Day is like a pit stop for all of us to stop and look back to the year and see what we have done and how much progress we have made.”
Shantanu Gupta, Executive Director, IOCL, gave a themed presentation on ‘CBG Program (SATAT) in India’ and Chris Bliley, Sr. Vice President, Growth Energy, USA, delivered one on ‘Global trends of Renewable fuels in Transportation’.
The panelists included Shantanu Gupta, ED, IOCL; Chris Bliley, Sr. VP, Growth Energy; Dr. Anjan Ray, Director, IIP; Shailesh Zinge, Director, Cummins and Ravindra KU, Bosch India.
Concluding the day, Prashant K Banerjee, Executive Director, SIAM, said, “Today distinguished experts from the energy domain provided the much-needed insight into ‘Biofuel Roadmap 2030 for India’. This will play a huge role in facilitating the implementation of Biofuel pathways announced by the Government. This will also help in achieving sustainable development goals in the country by 2030. Alternative fuels will drive India towards a sustainable future.”
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