How Will the Global Biofuels Alliance Transform Sustainable Energy?

Policy Puzzles: India's participation in the Global Biofuels Alliance aligns with its ambition to transition to alternative fuels and reduce import bills. India's goal is to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2070

The Processor
12 Sep 2023
New Update

India has taken another step towards a greener future by launching the Global Biofuels Alliance during the G20 Summit. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alongside global leaders including US President Joe Biden, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, initiated this alliance. 

The primary aim of the alliance is to promote sustainable biofuels on a global scale, with a particular focus on increasing ethanol blending with petrol to 20 percent.

Global Participation in the Alliance

The Global Biofuels Alliance boasts an impressive lineup of initiating members, including Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Italy, Mauritius, South Africa, the UAE, and the US. Additionally, Canada and Singapore have joined as observer countries, underlining the international interest in sustainable energy solutions.

Prime Minister Modi emphasized the urgency of international collaboration in fuel blending, stating, "Today, the need of the hour is that all countries should work together in the field of fuel blending. Our proposal is to take an initiative at a global level to take ethanol blending in petrol up to 20 percent." He also proposed alternative blending solutions that ensure a stable energy supply while contributing to climate security.

Climate Finance Commitment

Highlighting the importance of transitioning to cleaner energy sources, PM Modi stressed that energy transition is a critical need in the 21st century, given the challenges of climate change. He noted that trillions of dollars are required for an inclusive energy transition, with developed countries playing a crucial role.

Prime Minister Modi acknowledged the positive initiative developed countries took in 2023, expressing their willingness to fulfill their commitment of USD 100 billion for climate finance for the first time. This commitment, made at the Copenhagen UN climate talks in 2009, aims to support developing countries in combating climate change.

The Parallel with the International Solar Alliance

The launch of the Global Biofuels Alliance draws parallels with the International Solar Alliance (ISA), initiated by India and France in 2015 to promote clean and affordable solar energy. These alliances aim to provide options for developing countries to advance their energy transitions.

Biofuels, derived from biomass, are renewable energy sources. India, which heavily relies on oil imports, is progressively increasing its capacity to produce biofuels from crop stubble, plant waste, and municipal solid waste. The goal is to double the blending of ethanol extracted from sugarcane and agricultural waste to 20 percent with petrol by 2025 while also establishing numerous compressed biogas (CBG) plants.

The Global Biofuels Alliance aims to foster cooperation and promote the use of sustainable biofuels across various sectors, including transportation. Its focus includes strengthening markets, facilitating global biofuel trade, sharing policy insights, and providing technical support for national biofuel programs worldwide.

India's Path to Net Zero Carbon Emissions

India's participation in the Global Biofuels Alliance aligns with its ambition to transition to alternative fuels and reduce import bills. India has set a goal to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2070, and initiatives like this alliance play a pivotal role in realizing that vision.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that global sustainable biofuel production needs to triple by 2030 to put the world's energy system on track toward net-zero emissions by 2050. Liquid biofuels contributed more than four percent of the total transport energy supply in 2022, highlighting their growing importance in the global effort to combat climate change.