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- India, with the world's second largest population and rapidly growing economy, is increasingly looking to biofuels to meet its energy needs. India is currently the world's 4th largest producer of ethanol and is expanding their biodiesel industry. India also has long running projects using biogas. As well as a variety of of initiatives to use bioenergy to supply electricity, heat and light to isolated rural populations. (source: An Assessment of the Biofuels Industry in India, UNCTAD)
- 11-12 February 2010, New Delhi: 7th International Biofuels Conference. (Themes: biofuels, feedstocks, food security, sustainability)
- 2-5 March 2010, New Delhi: Methane to Markets. (Themes: agriculture, greenhouse gases, methane, municipal solid waste)
- 12-13 April 2010, New Delhi: Algae Biofuel Workshop 2010. (Themes: algae, biofuel, biogas, food vs. fuel, second-generation biofuels, waste)
- 27-29 October 2010, Delhi: Delhi International Renewable Energy Conference (DIREC) 2010. (Themes: international cooperation, policies, renewable energy)
- 30 November - 2 December 2010, Delhi: NextGenFuels 2010. (Themes: algae, biofuels, international cooperation, next-generation biofuels, waste)
- 4-7 February 2009, New Delhi: The 4th World Congress on Conservation Agriculture. (Themes: conservation, agriculture).
- 4-5 March 2009, New Delhi: VI International Conference in Bio-fuels organized by Winrock International India (Themes: bioethanol, biodiesel)
- 21-25 July 2009, Jaipur, Rajasthan: 3rd Global Jatropha Hi-Tech Agricultural Training Programme (JWTP) (Themes: Jatropha)
- 8-10 September 2009: 2nd Algae Biofuel Summit 2009. (Themes: algae, biofuels, feedstocks, energy, biotechnology, developing countries)
- 7-8 February 2008, New Delhi, India: 5th International Biofuels Conference (PDF file). (Themes: biofuels)
- 5-7 June 2008, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India: Non-Edible Feedstocks for Biodiesel - Workshop and Fuel-Crop Plantation Visit. (Themes: biodiesel, oil crops)
- 9-11 June 2008, New Delhi, India: Biofuels Markets Asia - The Pan-Asian Meeting Place for the Biofuels Industry - (Themes: biofuels, jatropha, feedstocks).
- 11-12 December 2008, New Delhi, India: International research conference on household energy interventions in humanitarian settings. (Themes: technology, alternative energy)
- RSPO Seeks to Certify Indonesian Crude Palm Oil, 23 November 2011 by Jakarta Globe: "The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil aims to certify 3 million tons of Indonesian crude palm oil as sustainable, up 50 percent from this year’s original target of 2 million."
- "Green campaigners say palm plantations are some of the biggest threats to the sustainability of rainforests in countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, which produce 85 percent of the world’s supply of the commodity."
- "A producer’s CPO can be certified if it can demonstrate that the production process does not cause undue harm to the environment or society."
- "Worldwide demand for CPO is around 45 million tons, with the biggest markets in India, China and Europe."
- "Indonesia’s Palm Oil Association (Gapki) in October withdrew its membership from RSPO, saying it would focus on helping to develop the government-backed sustainability scheme."
- The Extraordinary Collapse of Jatropha as a Global Biofuel, 2 August 2011 by Environmental Science & Technology: "In a massive planting program of unprecedented scale millions of marginal farmers and landless people were encouraged to plant Jatropha across India through attractive schemes....Similar measures were undertaken across other developing countries involving millions of small farmers in the hope that it would not only provide renewable energy but also enhance their incomes....By 2008, Jatropha had already been planted over an estimated 900000 ha globally of which an overwhelming 85% was in Asia, 13% in Africa and the rest in Latin America, and by 2015 Jatropha is expected to be planted on 12.8 million ha worldwide."
- "But the results are anything but encouraging. In India the provisions of mandatory blending could not be enforced as seed production fell far short of the expectation and a recent study has reported discontinuance by 85% of the Jatropha farmers....In Tanzania the results are very unsatisfactory and a research study found the net present value of a five-year investment in Jatropha plantation was negative with a loss of US$ 65 per ha on lands with yields of 2 tons/ha of seeds...."
- "...A case study of Jatropha plantations raised in 1993–1994 in the Indian province of Andhra Pradesh had reported actual yields that were far below expectations and the species was found to be prone to termite attacks, water logging, vulnerable to drought in the planting year and delayed yields."
- "...As an immediate step an international body like the FAO may have to intervene to stop further extension of Jatropha in new areas without adequate research inputs. Greater investments in dissemination of scientific data will help in ensuring due diligence does not cause undue delays in decision making."
- Cargill Sets Sights on Worldwide Sustainable Palm Oil by 2020, 13 July 2011 by GreenBiz.com: "Agribusiness giant Cargill plans to only offer palm oil -- an ingredient in Girl Scout cookies and numerous other foods -- that is certified sustainable in select countries by 2015 and worldwide by 2020."
- "Cargill aims to have all of the palm oil it sells in Europe, United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand be certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) within the next four years."
- "Cargill then plans for all palm oil sold in China, India and elsewhere to be RSPO-certified by 2020."
- "The first goal, however, excludes palm kernel oil, which is produced from the same oil palm trees that palm oil comes from and is used in food products, soaps and other goods."
- "The Rainforest Action Network, which has been dogging Cargill about its palm oil use, says that while the goals are a good start, the deadlines are too far away, RSPO certification is weak and palm kernel oil shouldn't be left out."
- "Cargill says, though, that it's trying to be realistic with its goals, and is aiming for achievable targets."
- Sweet sorghum eyed as biofuel, 23 April 2011 by Mb.com.ph: "A group of international scientists and crops experts based in India agreed on Saturday to help boost the production of sweet sorghum in a province of the Philippines as an alternative source of energy or biofuel."
- "The Indian experts will team up with Pemdas Energy Corporation, based here, and the Pampanga Agricultural College (PAC) for the planting and mass production of sweet sorghum."
- Impacts of Biofuel Targets on Land Use and Food Supply, 6 April 2011 by Journalist Resource: "The increased global production of biofuels such as ethanol has become a subject of controversy, as land formerly dedicated to the growing of food crops is repurposed to meet energy needs. Each year, more crops such as sugar, palm oil, corn and cassava are diverted for these purposes."
- "A paper by the World Bank, 'The Impacts of Biofuel Targets on Land-Use Change and Food Supply,' uses land-allocation information from the biofuels production sectors to determine the levels of competition between biofuels and food industries for agricultural commodities. The authors model the potential effects of increased biofuels production to meet current national targets."
- "The paper’s findings include:
- Expanding global biofuels production to meet current national biofuels targets would generally reduce global GDP between 0.02% and 0.06%, with the national GDP impacts varying across countries.
- Significant Expansion in biofuels production would necessitate substantial land re-allocation, resulting in as much a 5% decreases in forest and pasture lands.
- The expansion of biofuels would likely cause a 1% reduction in global food supply.
- The magnitude of the impact on food costs is not as large as perceived earlier — sugar, corn and oil seeds would experience 1% to 8% price increases by 2020 — but increases would be significant in developing countries such as India and those in Sub-Saharan Africa."
- Indian bio-fuel project to generate 25,000 jobs in Ghana, 8 March 2011 by Sify.com: "An Indian company has launched a clean energy project in Ghana that will help power over 100,000 homes and generate over 25,000 jobs in the west African country."
- "Abellon CleanEnergy Limited intends to produce solid bio-fuels for export as well as set up energy plantations, says Pragnesh Mishra, the company's representative in Ghana."
- "Officials of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Accra said the project was an initiative of the Business Call to Action (BCtA), a worldwide initiative to support the private sector in its efforts to fight poverty."
- "But as Abellon prepares to take off, it looks like the company would have to contend with complaints by ActionAid Ghana that biofuel companies were grabbing lands from farmers all over the country."
- BP declares biofuels the only route to cleaner transport, 3 March 2011 by Business Green: "Biofuels is the 'only game in town' when it comes to decarbonising the transport sector, according to Olivier Mace, a senior BP executive, who also downplayed the potential for electric vehicles as a near-term replacement for conventional cars."
- "Mace said he expected growing demand in India and China would by 2030 push the biofuel share of all road transport fuel well above the 12 per cent mark BP has previously predicted."
- "But despite the industry's enthusiasm, Kenneth Richter, biofuels campaigner at Friends of the Earth, warned that growing demand for energy crops would contribute to rising emissions."
- ""Research has shown that the current rush to biofuel will lead to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions, rather than a reduction," Richter told BusinessGreen. "This is caused by the need to convert massive amounts of natural habitat into biofuel plantations."
- IEA’s OPEN Energy Technology Bulletin Discusses Bioenergy and Energy Efficiency, 11 February 2011 by International Institute for Sustainable Development: "The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released the 75th issue of its OPEN Energy Technology Bulletin, highlighting newly released documents, proceedings and upcoming events."
- "The Bulletin highlights a new bioenergy policy guide, including recommendations addressing the food vs. fuel and land use change issues."
- "It also features articles addressing other issues such as improvements in demonstrating and marketing energy saving household technologies, the 50 by 50 campaign to halve auto emissions globally by 2050, and India’s industrial sector.
- "See the OPEN Energy Technology Bulletin"
- Malaysian palm oil destroying forests, report warns, 2 February 2011 by the Guardian: "Study by Wetlands International claims level of palm oil-related deforestation in Malaysia is higher than previously thought."
- "The report claims that between 2005 and 2010, almost 353,000 hectares of peat swamp forests were cleared – a third of Malaysia's total – largely for palm oil production."
- "The clearing, draining and burning of peat swamp forests is responsible for about 10 per cent of mankind's greenhouse gas emissions, according to Wetlands International."
- "Palm oil firms in Malaysia and Indonesia are under increasing pressure by major Western retailers and consumer goods brands, many of which use palm oil in their products, to halt the expansion of plantations that lead to forest clearance."
- "Some Malaysian palm oil producers have also joined the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, but strong demand from India and China for unsustainably sourced oil means others can avoid doing so without necessarily harming their market share."
- 110 Advanced Biofuels Projects Now in Development, 14 January 2011 by Renewable Energy World.com: "Today, the Biofuels Digest released version 1.7 of its free Advanced Biofuels Tracking Database, projecting advanced biofuels capacity for the 2011-2015 period."
- "The new database, which is the quarterly update tracking new projects and changes in capacity announced since October, includes updates on 13 companies and their projects in Australia, Austria, Brazil, India, the Netherlands, Norway and the US."
- "The database now tracks 110 advanced biofuels projects, and projects that advanced biofuels capacity will reach 718 million gallons in 2011, 1.522 billion by 2012, 2.685 billion by 2013, and 3.579 billion gallons by 2014."
- "Renewable drop-in fuels (renewable gasoline, and renewable diesel, and biobutanol) have climbed to 59 percent of planned advanced biofuels capacity by 2015."
- FAO Releases Publications on Woodfuels and Mitigation, 30 November 2010 by IISD: "The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has released two publications that examine the potential of woodfuel for mitigating climate change, including country case studies."
- "The report titled 'What Woodfuels Can Do to Mitigate Climate Change' (PDF file) looks at the scope and potential of woodfuels in contributing to climate change mitigation."
- "'Woodfuels and Climate Change Mitigation - Case Studies from Brazil, India and Mexico' (PDF file) carries this discussion forward by analyzing the situation in three case study countries."
- Biofuel crops fuel worry, 21 November 2010 by Jayashree Nandi: "It might be about time the state asks how green are biofuels. Karnataka is going to be one of the few states to heavily invest in biofuels. It has already covered an area of 13.5 lakh ha and the newly-formed Biofuels Board is going to commence operations next week."
- "Farmers are being encouraged to plant honge and jatropha, along with regular food crops in a multi-cropping pattern. In the long run, this could mean gradual conversion of farmland into biofuel production units."
- "While according to officials most of the planting has happened on wasteland, there's no agency to certify what's a wasteland. Some of these plantations are also being done on forestland."
- "From being a recommendatory body, now the taskforce will be converted to a facilitating body that will route funds for projects from state and central government. Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand have already constituted biofuel boards."
- World 'dangerously close' to new food crisis, United Nations says, 17 November 2010 by the Washington Post: "The bill for global food imports will top $1 trillion this year for the second time, putting the world 'dangerously close' to a new food crisis, according to the United Nations."
- Lack of science means jatropha biofuel 'could fail poor', 9 August 2010 by Papiya Bhattacharyya: "Mass planting of jatropha as a biofuel crop could benefit poor areas as well as combating global warming, but only if a number of scientific and production issues are properly addressed, a review has warned."
- "Growing jatropha for biofuel on degraded land unsuitable for food and cash crops could help improve the earnings of small farmers and counter poverty, reports the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in the review published last month."
- "But Balakrishna Gowda, biofuel project coordinator in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, where jatropha is grown, and professor at the University of Agricultural Sciences in Bangalore, said that it would be unrealistic to expect jatropha to reverse poverty 'overnight' in developing countries. 'The plant requires water and nutrition like any other plant [even if it grows on degraded land],' he told SciDev.Net. 'And it takes at least five to seven years for the plants to mature and grow their first fruit. We can rule out expectations of a great 'overnight' yield.'"
- Read the full report: Jatropha: A Smallholder Bioenergy Crop The Potential for Pro-Poor Development (PDF)
- Black Carbon a Significant Factor in Melting of Himalayan Glaciers, 4 February 2010 by Science Daily: "[A]irborne black carbon aerosols, or soot, from India is a major contributor to the decline in snow and ice cover on the glaciers."
- "'Our simulations showed greenhouse gases alone are not nearly enough to be responsible for the snow melt,' says Menon, a physicist and staff scientist in Berkeley Lab's Environmental Energy Technologies Division. 'Most of the change in snow and ice cover -- about 90 percent -- is from aerosols. Black carbon alone contributes at least 30 percent of this sum.'"
- "'Carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere for 100 years, but black carbon doesn't stay in the atmosphere for more than a few weeks, so the effects of controlling black carbon are much faster,' Menon says. 'If you control black carbon now, you're going to see an immediate effect.'"
- Small-scale biofuels production holds more promise, says USAID, 21 June 2009 by BusinessMirror: "Decentralized biofuel production, or small-scale factories built on degraded or underused lands, has the potential to provide energy to half a billion people living in poverty in rural Asia."
- " The report, Biofuels in Asia: An Analysis of Sustainability Options…focused on China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. It analyzed key trends and concerns and highlighted sustainability options for biofuel production."
- "Compared with large-scale biofuels production, small-scale biofuels production for local use may deliver greater social benefits, including improvement of rural livelihoods, support of local industries, and a lower tendency toward exploitation of workers and co-opting of land from indigenous peoples."
- India can't use own biodiesel, 8 October 2008 by Cleantech: India decides to ship biofuel to the U.S. and the EU until it builds infrastructure to blend petroleum with oil from jatropha and other sources.
- $480M Indian refinery signals jatropha shift?, 24 September 2008 by Cleantech: Bharat Petroleum venture plans output of 1 million metric tons of biodiesel by 2015.
- Power plants - The slow ripening of India’s biofuel industry, 18 September 2008 by The Economist: The article introduces a village growing jatropha "under the watchful eye of D1-BP Fuel Crops, a joint venture between D1 Oils, a British biofuels firm, and BP, an energy giant."
- It notes that "the world is being asked to digest big claims for this poisonous plant. It will help meet the world’s demand for fuel, without crowding out the world’s supply of food. It will regenerate dry and denuded soils, and create jobs for impoverished farmers. India accounts for about two-thirds of the world’s jatropha plantations."
- To meet the new national biofuel usage goal of 20% of diesel use in 2017 to come from biofuels, "will mean setting aside 14 [million] hectares of land" although "jatropha now covers less than 500,000 hectares."
- "But sceptics say these crops take too long to bear fruit and their yield is unreliable."
- India, EU affirm new biofuels, 12 September 2008 by Cleantech: Officials of India and the EU establish new policies to speed the adoption of second-generation biofuels from non-food crops.
- India sets new biofuel target, risks food price row, 11 September 2008 by Reuters UK: "India aims to raise blending of biofuels with petrol and diesel to 20 percent within a decade, threatening a revival of the food-versus-fuel debate."
- "'An indicative target of 20 percent blending by 2017 may be kept, both for bio-diesel and bio-ethanol,' the government said in a statement on Thursday."
- "Higher use of biofuels will intensify the debate on the use of farmland for fuel in India, and encourage farmers to reduce grain cultivation for food, said T.K. Bhaumik, an economist with Assocham, a leading business chamber."
- "While the use of ethanol has been introduced successfully in India, the use of bio-diesel has not taken off and many Indian companies have shelved plans to invest in related projects."
- India to unveil bio-fuel policy in March , 1 February 2008 by Sify business, reports that India's government plans to issue a policy on biofuels in early March. The Biodiesel Industry Association says that "[F]armers are reluctant to undertake plantation of jatropha on a large scale to meet the feedstock requirement of bio-diesel plants in the absence of policy guidelines from the central government," and that facilities "are unable to run at their rated capacities due to feedstock shortage." Sources say that India has thirty million hectares of unused land that is suitable for jatropha and other crops for biofuels.
- India to establish a center for Energy Biosciences , 1 February 2008 India's Department of Biotechnology has set aside the equivalent of $6.1 million U.S. and hopes to raise another $4 million to establish a first Center of Energy Biosciences at the University Institute of Chemical Technology in Mumbai.
- India's Group of Ministers likely to resolve bio-diesel row this week, 21 May 2007 from the Financial Express. Indian Ministers are working out an agreement on India's National Bio-fuel Policy. The disagreement centers around funding for the jatropha biodiesel program as well as the minimum support price (MSP) for biofuel crops like jatropha and karanj.
- India plans new biofuel mission, 11 April 2007 from Monstersandcritics.com. India is planning a new biofuel plan with a focus on jatropha and karanj. The first phase would cover 400,000 ha and the second 11.2 million ha of land. There are challenges to implementation, including the reluctance of farmers to invest in a crop like jatropha that doesn't yield seeds until the third year.
- Grid-connected Biomass Gasifier Project inaugurated in rural India - 24 January 2007. Koratgere village residents, in Karnataka state, have signed a power purchase agreement with the state utility, BESCOM, to supply electricity generated by four biomass gasifier units totaling 500 kW. The fuel will be supplied by dry plant matter, from locally-cultivated plants and shrubs that are grown on wastelands. The project was partially funded by GEF.
- Jenbacher Biogas Engines Power Methane-to-Energy Plant in India, 28 February 2007 from Renewable Energy Access. "A GE Energy Jenbacher biogas engine is powering a demonstration cattle manure-methane cogeneration plant at a dairy complex in Punjab, India, helping to address the region's mounting energy and environmental needs."
- Reliance to sell biofuel 1 February 2007 from Earthtimes.org. Reliance Industries, a major energy company, will start selling jatropha biodiesel through its distribution network next year.
- India's president has said that the country plans to produce 60 million tonnes of biodiesel per year by 2030 or roughly 1.2 million barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) per day. (source: biopact)
- Biofuel targets in India include for a 10% ethanol proportion of the national petrol (gasoline) supply and 10% biodiesel for diesel supplies. (Source: Biofuel crops: power to the dryland poor)
- India's food needs preclude using food crops for fuel. So the main candidate for bio-fuels are non-edible tree-oils, like jatropha and karanj, which can grow on marginal land.
For information on bioenergy in the States and Union Territories of India, click here: India - States and Union Territories.
International cooperation activities
- Commercialisation of Improved Biomass Fuels and Cooking Devices in India: Scale Up PROJECT (from ARTI website) - a project "to create sustainable rural enterprises based on clean biomass fuels and cooking systems, this project aims to reach out to rural households all over Maharashtra." The projects benefits include reduced indoor air pollution caused by use of traditional biofuels, through the use of compact biogas systems and charcoaling technology. This project is funded in part by the Shell Foundation, UK.
- The Andhyodaya - An Indian NGO that does ferro cement technology, rain water harvesting and biogas plants.
- Bharatiya Agro Industries Foundation (BAIF) Development Research Foundation - Rural development organization that is doing studies on the economic viability of jatropha cultivation for biofuel.
- Centre for Indian Bamboo Resource & Technology (CIBART) - "dedicated to the development of the Indian bamboo sector"; engaged in "project development and implementation, technical consultancy and turnkey services on all aspects of bamboo, working in partnership with rural people." 
- International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) - Conducts research into dryland crops, including those that can serve as feedstocks for biofuels.
- Institute of Applied Systems and Rural Development (IASRD) - "a development organization" engaged in "propagation and promotion of Jatropha plantation, formulation and implementation".
- Petroleum Conservation Research Association National Biofuel Center - Website includes state by state details of biofuels plantations and projects in India.
- Bharat Petroleum (BPCL) - According to the company website, as of January 2007, BPCL is "looking at ethanol investment opportunities in Brazil."
- Sai Petrochemicals Pvt. Ltd. - Website of the Tech Director devoted to jatropha and biodiesel production and investment.
- Indian Biogas Association - Association for the Indian biogas industry.
- "The 'Indian Biogas Association' aspires to be a unique blend of; nationwide operators, manufacturers and planners of biogas plants, and representatives from science and research. The association was founded in 2010 and is now ready to start mushrooming. The sole motto of the association is 'propagating Biogas in a sustainable way'."
- Losing the plot: the threats to community land and the rural poor through the spread of the biofuel jatropha in India by Friends of the Earth Europe, March 2010: This report studies the problem of jatropha plantations in India forcing lower caste Indians from community lands.
- Sustainable Production of Second-Generation Biofuels: Potential and Perspectives in Major Economies and Developing Countries (PDF) by the International Energy Agency, February 2010. "The paper focuses on opportunities and risks presented by second-generation biofuels technologies in eight case study countries: Brazil, Cameroon, China, India, Mexico, South Africa, Tanzania and Thailand."
- An Assessment of the Biofuels Industry in India prepared by Joseph B. Gonsalves, UNCTAD, October 2006.
- Agropedia - "a comprehensive, seamlessly integrated model of digital content organization in the agricultural domain." Focused on India. Lead organization is ICRISAT.
- Indic View - Blog on Alternate Energy and the Indian Infrastructure and Energy Scene.
|Organizations: Companies | States|
| China | India | Indonesia | Japan | Korea (Republic of) | Malaysia | Myanmar/Burma | The Philippines | Singapore | Thailand | Vietnam|
Institutions: Asian Development Bank
| Africa | Asia | Europe | Latin America and the Caribbean | Middle East | North America | Oceania & Pacific |
See also: International cooperation | International organizations
What is bioenergy? | Benefits/Risks | Who is doing what?