India needs to “decarbonise” its transport sector quickly as the country has the potential to be a global torch-bearer in bio-fuels, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Sunday.
Speaking virtually at the Sugar and Ethanol Conference organised by Chini Mandi, he said 80 per cent of the energy requirement of the Indian transport sector was being fulfilled through import of fossil fuels like petrol, diesel etc, which was costing the country more than Rs 16 lakh crore annually.
“This is an economic and environment problem. The transport sector also accounts for 90 percent carbon emissions. There is immediate need to decarbonise the transport sector. The Union government is pursuing bio-fuels and compressed bio gas on mission mode to replace these imports in a cost-effective, pollution-free way,” he said.
“The government is encouraging policy frameworks for production of biofuels and creation of a sustainable ecosystem around it. The Centre is giving a huge push to ethanol as fuel, especially its production from surplus and damaged food grains like rice, corn and sugarcane. We can be a torch bearer in bio fuels globally,” he said.
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The efficient use of surplus sugar, rice and maize stock as well as production of second generation ethanol from bamboo and agri bio mass such as cotton and straw can completely change the fuel landscape in India, the Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways said.
“India is the only country that is setting up four commercial plants for bio fuels, three of which are based on indigenous technology. Each plant will help two lakh farmers and reduce three lakh tonnes of carbon emissions. There is need for research and development in green hydrogen and diversification of the agriculture sector into energy and power,” he asserted.
Gadkari said the future of the ethanol economy is bright and asked the sugar sector to convert the surplus produce into bioethanol, which in turn will help create wealth in agriculture as well as the country’s rural areas.