The launch of a global biofuel alliance at a recently concluded and very successful G20 summit in New Delhi, is a great step towards energy transition. Aimed at boosting the use of cleaner fuels, this global alliance on ethanol has the potential to effectively address the climate change issue, and restrict its catastrophic impacts over the world. This historic moment in global energy sector also augurs well for the agriculture sector, which may bring prosperity for crores of farmers of India as well as other agricultural nations. Moreover, the United States and Brazil being its founding members along with India, would help accelerate global efforts to meet net zero emissions targets by facilitating trade in biofuels derived from sources including plant and animal waste.
By announcing the Global Biofuels Alliance (GBA), India has further made it clear that by developing an alliance of governments, international organizations and industry to facilitate adoption of biofuels, it wants the catastrophic climate change to be addressed effectively. Since, the new organisation brings together the biggest consumers and producers of biofuels to drive biofuels development and deployment, the initiative aims to position biofuels as a key to energy transition and contribute to jobs and economic growth.
The India-led GBA also showcases the action oriented nature of India’s positive agenda as G20 President and representing the “Voice of the Global South’’. GBA will support worldwide development and deployment of sustainable biofuels by offering capacity-building exercises across the value chain, technical support for national programs and promoting policy lessons-sharing. It will also facilitate mobilizing a virtual marketplace to assist industries, countries, ecosystem players and key stakeholders in mapping demand and supply, as well as connecting technology providers to end users.
The GBA will also facilitate development, adoption and implementation of internationally recognized standards, codes, sustainability principles and regulations to incentivize biofuels adoption and trade. The initiative will be beneficial for India at multiple fronts. GBA as a tangible outcome of the G20 presidency, will help strengthen India’s position globally. Moreover, the alliance will focus on collaboration and will provide additional opportunities to Indian industries in the form of exporting technology and exporting equipment. This initiative will also help accelerate country’s existing biofuels programs such as PM-JIVANYojna, SATAT, and GOBARdhan scheme, thereby contributing to increased farmers’ income, creating jobs and overall development of the Indian ecosystem.
The global ethanol market is growing at good rate. It was valued at USD 99.06 billion in 2022 and is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 5.1% by 2032 and surpass USD 162.12 billion by 2032. As per IEA, there will be 3.5-5x biofuels growth potential by 2050 due to Net Zero targets, creating a huge opportunity for India. 19 countries and 12 international organisations have already agreed to join this group. Moreover, 7 G20 countries are supporting GBA, which comprise Argentina, Brazil, Canada, India, Italy, South Africa and USA. G20 invitee countries like Bangladesh, Singapore, Mauritius and UAE are supporting this initiative. Moreover, non G20 countries like- Iceland, Kenya, Guyana, Paraguay, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Uganda and Finland have agreed to be initiating members of GBA.
Along with these countries, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, World Economic Forum, World LPG Organization, UN Energy for All, UNIDO, Biofutures Platform, International Civil Aviation Organization, International Energy Agency, International Energy Forum, International Renewable Energy Agency and World Biogas Association have already joined this group. Clearly, GBA members constitute major producers and consumers of biofuels. For example, USA with 52%, Brazil with 30% and India with 3% contribute about 85% share in production and about 81% in consumption of ethanol.
Without doubt, for a clearner, greener and prosperous tomorrow, the role of biofuels is huge. It boosts economic prosperity, energy security, access, and affordability while being sustainable and supporting decarbonization. Moreover, technology advancements provide multiple biofuel feedstock options like- sugarcane, corn, agriculture waste, bamboo, etc., and further cooperation across G20 nations can help in further development of the Global Bio-fuels market and realize biofuels’ full potential.
The push for a biofuels alliance mirrors the International Solar Alliance launched by India and France in 2015 to bring clean and affordable solar energy within the reach of all. The International Energy Agency estimates in a July report that global sustainable biofuels production would need to triple by 2030 to put the world’s energy system on track towards net zero emissions by 2050. India, the world’s third-biggest oil importer and consumer, imports about 85% of its crude needs and is gradually building capacity to increase its output of biofuels.
India is targeting to become carbon neutral by 2070 and is expanding use of biofuel in its transport sector. It has advanced the deadline by 5 years to 2025 for doubling nationwide ethanol blending in gasoline to 20%. This new alliance will also help by encouraging global biofuels trade, developing concrete policies on lesson-sharing and promoting provision of technical support for national biofuels programmes worldwide.