India Solar, Wind, Biomass, Biofuels – EAI

Biomass to Transportation Fuels (T.F)

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Currently the transportation sector produces about 25% of global energy-related CO2 emissions and accounts for roughly 50% of global oil consumption (IEA, 2008b). Biofuels are seen as one of the most feasible options for reducing carbon emissions in the transport sector, along with improvements in fuel efficiency and electrification of the light vehicle fleet. For heavy-duty vehicles, marine vessels and airplanes in particular, biofuels will play an increasing role to reduce CO2 emissions since electric vehicles and fuel cells are not feasible for these transport modes. 

Biomass provides various options for manufacturing substitutes for both gasoline and diesel fuel.  Some of these, such as the production of ethanol as a gasoline replacement, or processed vegetable oils (biodiesel) as a diesel fuel replacement, are well known; others, such as the gasification of biomass to produce either hydrogen for fuel cell vehicles, or synthetic hydrocarbons for conventional vehicles, are more speculative.

Classification of Biofuels

Generation Feedstock Technology Example
First generation biofuel Sugar, starch, vegetableoils, or animal fat
  • Cold/hot pressing, extraction & Transesterification
  • Cold/hot pressing, extraction, and purification
  • Hydrolysis & fermentation
Bioethanol, vegetable oil,biodiesel, biogas
Second generationbiofuel Non food crops, wheatstraw, corn, wood, solidwaste, energy crop
  • Hydrolysis & fermentation
  • Pyrolysis, gasification, methanation
  • Pyrolysis, gasification, water gas shift reaction (WGSR)
Cellulosic bioethanol, Bio-SNG, synthetic biofuels and biohydrogen
Third generationbiofuel Algae
  • Transesterifcation
  • Fermentation
Vegetable oil, biodiesel

Steps involved in the Supply Chain for biofuel production

  1. Feedstock Production: comprises the cultivation of biomass resources such as corn, crop residues, and woody residues used as raw material inputs for biofuels production.
  2. Feedstock Logistics: consists of harvesting or collecting feedstock from the area of production, processing it for use in biorefineries, storing it between harvests, and delivering it to the plant gate.
  3. Conversion: This is an industrial activity in which the raw biomass is converted into biofuel along with one or more co products.
  4. Distribution and retailing of finished fuels: This involves distribution of finished fuel for blending with fossil fuels.
  5. Consumption of bioenergy: This refers to the ultimate end use in which the biofuel enters the fuel tank of a vehicle.


  1. Bio-chemical Conversion
  2. Chemical Conversion
  3. Thermo-chemical Conversion

To know more about the technological routes involved in biofuel production, please click here.

Biofuels in India

According to the IEA’s Medium Term Oil Market Report 2009, the production of biofuels in India reached 1.08 billion litres of ethanol and about 0.24 billion litres of biodiesel in 2008. The current share of biofuels in total fuel consumption is extremely low and is confined mainly to 5% blending of ethanol in gasoline, which the government has made mandatory in 10 states.

Currently, biodiesel is not sold on the Indian fuel market, but the government plans to meet 20% of the country’s diesel requirements by 2020 using biodiesel (Planning commission, 2003). Since the demand for edible oil seeds exceeds current production, the government promotes the use of nonedible oils from Jatropha curcas and Pongamia pinnata as feedstock for biodiesel production. 

Hot spots for production plants:

The states and the districts with the highest production levels of rice, wheat and sugar cane can be potential hot spots for setting up second-generation biofuel plants. Residues of the main crops – rice, wheat and sugar cane – are mainly found in West Bengal, Andhra Pradesch, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Rajastan, Maharashtra and Karnataka (DES, 2008).

There are also other potential feedstock sources like corn stover and sorghum stover, which could add other states as hot spots for production. The states with greatest production of corn stover are Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Bihar, Rajasthan, Maharastra and Madhya Pradesh, while those states with high yields of sorghum are Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.

Value drivers for the biofuel industry in India


Opportunities are diverse, and are present in different sectors such as R&D, agriculture (biomass cultivation and processing), transportation, bioenergy production, manufacture of core equipments and EPC etc,

For more information on business opportunities in the biomass to transportation fuels sector, please click here.


India Biomass Energy