Global Biofuel Alliance

Global Biofuel Alliance Announced

This topic of “Global Biofuel Alliance” is important from the perspective of the UPSC IAS Examination, which falls under General Studies Portion.

What is the Global Biofuel Alliance (GBA)?

The Global Biofuel Alliance (GBA) is an India-led initiative aimed at boosting the production and use of biofuels as a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels such as petrol and diesel. The GBA is a collaborative effort to address global energy challenges, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and promote a cleaner and greener energy future.

Biofuel Definition (IEA)

Biofuels, as defined by the International Energy Agency (IEA), are liquid fuels derived from biomass, serving as alternatives to traditional fossil fuels like gasoline, diesel, and aviation fuels.

Types of Biofuels

  • 1G (First Generation) Biofuels: These are produced from specific crops such as sugarcane, corn, and soybean.
  • 2G (Second Generation) Biofuels: 2G biofuels are derived from sources like agricultural waste, used cooking oil, and animal residues. The GBA primarily focuses on 2G ethanol production.

Significance of the Global Biofuel Alliance

Global Crude Oil Situation

  • Disruptions from Ukraine War: Recent geopolitical events, including the war in Ukraine, have led to disruptions in the global crude oil supply.
  • Dependency on Imports: Many nations, including India (which imports 87% of its crude oil), are heavily dependent on oil imports, making them vulnerable to price fluctuations and supply disruptions.

Decarbonizing the Transport Sector

  • Carbon Emissions from Transport: The transport sector contributes to approximately one-fourth of global carbon emissions.
  • Rise of Electric Vehicles: While electric vehicles and battery production are on the rise, biofuels offer a viable solution for sectors that are challenging to decarbonize, such as aviation, shipping, and long-haul trucking.

Blending Biofuels

  • Blending in India: India has already taken steps to blend biofuels, currently blending 10% and aiming to double this percentage in the near future.

Benefits of 2G Ethanol

  • Reducing GHG Emissions: 2G ethanol can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions when compared to traditional fossil fuels.
  • Extending Engine Life: It can extend the life of combustion engines while promoting sustainable practices.
  • Boosting Farmers’ Income: The production of biofuels can provide additional income opportunities for farmers and generate jobs.

How the Global Biofuel Alliance Works

GBA Goals

  • International Collaboration: The GBA seeks to unite countries in collaborative efforts for the co-development of biofuels and related technologies.
  • Technological Advancements: It aims to accelerate technological advancements in biofuel production to make the process more efficient and sustainable.
  • Advocacy for Biofuels: The GBA advocates for the use of biofuels in the transport sector on a global scale.

Global Initiatives

  • United States: The U.S. has amended its “Renewable Fuel Standard” to increase biofuel production, with the goal of substituting 140,000 barrels per day of crude oil imports by 2025.
  • India: India has been actively pursuing biofuel initiatives since 2018, with plans to establish 12 new refineries for achieving 20% ethanol blending by 2025. These efforts align with India’s broader goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2070.

IEA Predictions

  • The International Energy Agency predicts that India, along with Brazil and Indonesia, will account for two-thirds of the global demand for biofuels.

Who Are the Key Players in the Global Biofuel Alliance?

Founding Members

  • India: Leading the initiative.
  • United States: Actively participating in the alliance.
  • Brazil: An important founding member.

Additional Members

  • Argentina: A member of the G-20.
  • Canada: A G-20 nation.
  • Italy: Contributing to global biofuel efforts.
  • South Africa: Representing the G-20 nations in the alliance.

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