Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, has announced the intention of the government to explore production of aviation fuel from non-edible seeds. This measure would help India scale back the import of aviation turbine fuel (ATF), which currently costs the country around Rs 300 billion every year.
Additionally, the government is also said to be considering measures to produce first- generation ethanol. With the country staring at a record production of sugar for the second consecutive year, a policy is being formulated to increase the production of molasses from 4 per cent currently to 6 per cent.
In a bid to incentivise the production of ethanol in the country, the Road Transport Minister said, “The idea is to make ethanol directly from sugarcane and not sugar. The parity will be such that producers will be incentivised to make ethanol”.
It would be pertinent to note that the Petroleum Ministry had recently conducted a trial run of an an aircraft running on a blend of bio-fuel and ATF, where the bio-fuel component was sourced from non-oil seeds. The fuel developed by the Indian Institute of Petroleum, Dehradun, was tested successfully on a Spicejet flight from Dehradun to Delhi, highlighting the potential behind this measure to reduce oil imports.
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