World Biofuel Day is celebrated annually on August 10 to highlight the importance of biofuels, which are produced from animal waste, algae, and industrial and agricultural waste. Biofuels, unlike fossil fuels, are produced in a short amount of time and are liquid or gaseous. They are environment friendly, sustainable, renewable and biodegradable. Below, we look at the history of World Biofuel Day, the type of biofuels used in India, the significance of World Biofuel Day.
History: In India, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoP&NG) and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) started celebrating World Biofuel Day, 2015 onwards. August 10 was chosen as World Biofuel Day since it was on this date in 1893 that German inventor Sir Rudolf Diesel successfully ran his diesel engine on peanut oil. This was a path-breaking discovery as it created a safer, renewable and sustainable alternative to fossil fuels.
Biofuel types: Bioethanol, biodiesel, and biogas are the three types of biofuels used in India. Bioethanol is made from sugar and starch-heavy crops and surplus agricultural waste and biomass. Biodiesel is produced from various types of vegetable oil and biomass wastes from agricultural farms and forests. Biogas is produced via anaerobic digestion of biomass wastes and animal wastes.
Significance: World Biofuel Day is a platform for the Indian government to raise awareness about non-fossil fuels. The day also celebrates the government’s activities in developing and strengthening the biofuel sector in the country.
The MoP&NG allows the blending of biodiesel made from cooking oil, with diesel, while ethanol is blended with petrol. Biodiesel was initially produced from imported palm oil, but to cut costs, it promoted the use of cooking oil as raw material.
Biofuel is an important solution for CO2 mitigation strategies in the economy, a fact recognised by India’s recent policy moves to encourage the use of biofuel blends. Internationally as well, various countries have adopted biofuels and are in the process of reducing their dependency on other sources of energy.
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