India expands supported ethanol feedstocks, funding for 2G

India’s Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved the 2018 National Policy on Biofuels. Reduced dependency of imports and environmental benefits are among the goals for the legislation.

The policy differentiates between ‘basic biofuels’ and ‘advanced biofuels’: the former covering first generation bioethanol and biodiesel, the latter covering second and third generation biofuels. This categorisation facilitates separate levels of governmental support.

The legislation also expands the feedstock supported by the scheme. Sugarcane juice, sugar-containing materials (like sugar beet), starch containing materials (like corn) and damaged food grains unfit for human consumption are now covered by the programme. During times of food surplus, farmers will also be allowed to use excess produce for the production of ethanol.

Indian biofuel policy has previously been hindered by a lack of feedstock, which is typically molasses—a sugar by-product.

A ‘viability gap funding scheme’ of Rs50 billion (over €625 million) over six years is to be made available to second generation bioethanol refineries. Tax incentives and higher purchase prices will also apply to second generation facilities.