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Bioenergy for Sustainable Development

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The term “Bioenergy” refers to energy and energy-related goods (such pellets) made from biomass. Organic material from plants and waste streams is known as biomass. Diverse fuels that can be used in the production of electricity, heating systems, and/or transportation are referred to as bioenergy. By lowering greenhouse gas emissions, Bioenergy helps to combat climate change. Bioenergy has assisted in the growth of regional economies over the past few decades and in numerous nations, all while reducing the need for foreign imports of fossil fuels. The utilization of bioenergy resources can help reduce GHG emissions if they are produced sustainably. Over 300 biomass power and co-generation units totaling 3700 MW have been built in the country to deliver electricity to the grid. In addition, 30 biomass power plants with a combined capacity of around 350MW are in various stages of construction. In terms of biomass power plants, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu have taken the lead.

The Ministry of Science and Technology’s Institute of Bio-resources and Sustainable Development (IBSD) introduced the National Mission on Bio-economy in Shillong, Meghalaya. South-east Asia is the only region with the mission, and India is now one of the few nations that have tapped bio-resources, which, when used well, may provide a significant number of jobs at the village level. The mission’s goal is to use bio-resources to strengthen rural economies and generate a significant amount of jobs at the village level. Through a knowledge-based approach, it also emphasizes the sustainable usage of biological resources that are renewable for food, bio-energy, and bio-based goods.

Role of Bio-Energy:

  • Market Development: India’s rural and urban renewable energy systems markets are anticipated to grow rapidly. In spite of this, bioenergy is classified as “non-commercial” energy and is frequently overlooked in studies on energy.
    the discovery of wild plant species like Jatropha, Neem, and other plants as potential sources for biodiesel production in India.
  • Power Demand: Particularly in rural areas, bioenergy can help to meet the nation’s expanding energy needs. Roughly 70% of people in rural areas rely on biomass to meet their daily energy needs, and about 25% of its primary energy comes from biomass resources. More biomass can be used to meet rural areas’ energy needs.
  • Environmental Protection: Bioenergy has many benefits over fossil fuels, especially in terms of reducing GHG emissions. Biomass reduces the quantity of additional fossil carbon emitted into the atmosphere from the ground by recycling carbon from the air and reducing the usage of fossil fuels.
  • Recycling to Energy: Biofuels can assist in turning garbage into money. Because it is a derivative of renewable biomass resources including plastic, municipal solid waste, forestry residues, agricultural wastes, surplus food grains, etc., it has a great deal of potential to help the country reach its 175 GW renewable energy goal.
  • Limit imports: Imports account for about 46.13% of India’s total primary energy consumption. Bio-energy can improve India’s energy security and independence by reducing these imports.
  • Earnings Generation: Among other advantages, using bio-fuels as an alternative energy source can significantly raise farmers’ incomes and create jobs.

Advantages of Bio-Energy:

  • Versatile: Bio-energy energy is one of the most adaptable choices available. It can be converted into a number of fuels, each of which has different use. For instance, bio-energy can be processed to create bio-diesel for automobiles or utilized to develop methane gas and a variety of other bio-fuels.
  • Availability: Fuels made with bio-energy are generally accessible. Like the sun and water, they can be found almost anywhere on the world.
    Low Cost: In comparison to the cost of drilling for oil or constructing gas pipelines, the cost of gathering bio-energy fuels is incredibly low.
  • Eliminates waste: The waste we produce here contains a lot of recyclable materials and plant stuff that can be utilized more effectively elsewhere.
  • Local Production: Additionally, the management of energy production from larger organisations can be decentralized through the usage of bio-energy fuel. It means that consumers are no longer required to pay the fees that power providers levy.Renewable:  As long as efforts are taken to sustain the resources utilized for bio-energy energy through dedicated replanting and replenishment, it is a fuel source that has the potential to significantly outlive conventional fossil fuels.
  • Being carbon neutral: The quantity of carbon that is released into the atmosphere is one of the primary causes of climate change. Because bio-energy is a natural part of the carbon cycle as opposed to oil and other fossil fuels, it mitigates this.
  • Reduced Reliance on Fossil Fuels:  We rely less on fossil fuels, a major contributor to climate change and other environmental issues, as we employ more bio-energy.

Disadvantages of Bio-Energy:

  • Potentially Deforestation: Compared to things like solar and water sources, biomass is underdeveloped and inefficient.
  • Space: Large amounts of space are needed to generate the components utilized in biomass energy. This space won’t always be accessible, particularly in areas with a high population density like cities.
  • Requires Water: A sometimes-overlooked disadvantage of biomass energy production is the amount of water needed. All plants require water, thus supplies must constantly be available.
  • Not entirely clean: Bio-energy, despite being a carbon-neutral fuel source, is not totally pure. Burning wood and other plant matter results in emissions besides carbon dioxide.  Even if the effects might not be as severe as those from fossil fuels, the ecosystem may still be harmed.
  • Expensive:  Bio-energy fuels are often more expensive to create than many other renewable energy sources, despite being less expensive to extract than the majority of fossil fuels. Some people think that investing in bio-energy plants is not worthwhile, especially in light of the availability of alternatives like solar, water, and wind energy.

Initiatives for Bio-Energy:

  1. New Electricity Act, 2003: The status of renewable energy sources should be significantly enhanced during this process, particularly from a legal standpoint, as well as the “Ease of Doing Business” ranking. The new act should make the bidding process more transparent, emphasize the importance of the Renewable Purchase Obligation, and permit letter of credit payments in this context. The new Electricity Act will also govern the establishment and advancement of smart meters and prepaid electricity meters, the requirement to provide power supply “24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” the legal repercussions of breaching a PPA’s obligations, and the direct transmission of subsidies. The “Make in India” program and economic growth are the goals of this.
  2. National Bio-fuels Policy (NPB) 2018: In June 2018, the Indian government announced it. The bio fuels program in India can move forward with the help of this policy. Since the implementation of Policy, the amount of ethanol in gasoline has increased from 2% to about 8.0%. By 2030, the NPB has recommended an indicative target of 20% ethanol in gasoline and 5% bio-diesel in diesel. The Government of India has, however, moved up the deadline for achieving a 20% ethanol blend in gasoline by 5 years, to 2025–2026, with a phased deployment of E20 set to begin on April 1, 2023.
  3. Improving land purchase:  Private businesses currently find it extremely challenging to purchase land in India. Most people think that the process of buying land is drawn out and difficult. The so-called “plug and play” concept will replace the current mechanism for awarding renewable energy projects in the future, which should reduce significant risks. According to the “plug and play” plan, the government will essentially buy the land and later on manage the initial and most crucial permissions. Following that, the projects and land that have been acquired will be distributed to private enterprises in accordance with the recognized bidding process.
  4. Reduction of the Corporate Tax: Remarkably, the Indian government reduced the general corporation tax rate for Indian businesses from 30% to 22%. As a result, India has changed its corporate tax to match the rates used in other Southern Asian nations. This results in a rebound and a broad improvement in business circumstances for organisations across all industry sectors, which will also be advantageous for the renewable energy industry. Because there are now no formal regulations or guidelines for the protection of the renewable energy industry, businesses participating in the field are highly reliant on these indirect state incentives. Indian businesses will be more competitive in the international market as a result of the corporation tax rate now being among the lowest in the world. They’ll want to stay and grow their business in India. A 15% personal income tax rate is an option for new domestic businesses that are only functioning in the manufacturing sector and were founded on or after 1 October 2019. Companies that will commence manufacturing on or before March 31, 2023, are eligible for this tax benefit. Such businesses pay an effective tax rate of 17.01%. This action would benefit not only India’s manufacturing industry but also all commercial activities there and help the industry as a whole to recover.
  5. India is promoting research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) to produce calculable leads and scaling up of the existing technologies for affordable bio-fuel production, development of decentralized renewable energy options for rural areas, including waste to energy, and to strengthen international collaboration in research on advanced bio-fuels and waste to energy.

Challenges of Bio-Energy:

  • Financial Difficulties: To meet the need of developing the renewable industry, there are some budgetary restrictions, such as money allocation and late budget releases. The developers face financial obstacles as a result of ambiguities around the estimation of resources, a lack of technological awareness, and high risk perceptions.
  • Technical Difficulties: A renewable energy project adds to complicated risk issues brought on by the environment, natural disasters, planning, equipment failure, and lost revenue. Regarding testing facilities, referral organisations, review mechanisms, inspection, and monitoring, there is no specific document.
  • Renewable energy R&D facilities are few in number.
  • Policy Obstacles:There is no comprehensive policy declaration (regulatory framework) for the renewable energy industry. Poor inter-institutional coordination is displayed by institutions, agencies, and stakeholders.
  • Institutional Difficulties: Because it takes longer for projects to receive clearances, the single window project approval and clearance system is not particularly helpful and unstable. There are no suitable or established research facilities accessible for the creation of renewable infrastructure.
  • The government’s emphasis on creating bio-fuels from non-feed stocks “grown on degraded land or wasteland that are not suitable for agriculture” sets India’s biofuel program apart from that of other nations.

Achievements of Bio-Energy: 

  • India is the third-largest user of electricity and the third-largest producer of renewable energy in the world. Of the 400 GW of built energy capacity, 160 GW will come from renewable sources by 2022.
  • India pledged to produce 50% of its total electricity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030 as part of the Paris Agreement’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions targets in 2016.
  • The Central Electricity Authority of India announced a goal in 2018 to produce 50% of all electricity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030.
  • India has also set a goal to produce 175 GW and 500 GW of renewable energy, respectively, by 2022 and 2030.
  • India came in third place behind the United States and China on Ernst & Young’s (EY) 2021 Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI)
  • Three of the top five largest solar parks in the world in 2020 were located in India, including the largest solar park in the world, the 2255 MW Bhadla Solar Park in Rajasthan, the second-largest solar park in the world, the 2000 MW Pavgada Solar Park Tumkur in Karnataka, and the 100 MW Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh.
  • With 20 manufacturers producing 53 distinct wind turbine types up to 3 MW in size, wind power in India has a solid manufacturing base with exports to the United States, Europe, and other nations.
  • India’s renewable energy capacity was 150 GW in November 2021, made up of solar (48.55 GW), wind (40.03 GW), small hydro power (4.83 GW), bio-mass (10.62 GW), large hydro (46.51 GW), and nuclear (46.51 GW) (6.78 GW). 
  • By 2030, India has pledged to have 450 GW of renewable energy capacity.


There are various advantages to modern bioenergy, such as biogas and MSW-to-energy. When fossil fuels are replaced or ineffective waste management techniques are replaced, benefits including improving energy security, making money, and lowering greenhouse gas emissions result. According to the IEA’s sustainable development scenario, over the next ten years, modern bioenergy will increase by 75% in India, with biogas and biomethane increasing by roughly 20 times to power electricity and fuel automobiles. Bioenergy has a very bright future because so little of its potential has been used up to this point. If the management of biomass and the proper organisation of the entire supply chain is properly addressed, there are tested and dependable technologies that can offer answers at the household, community, and industrial levels. In addition to public awareness campaigns about demonstration projects that have been successfully run for a few years and their significant contribution to the attainment of the SDGs, capacity building at all levels is crucial. Communicated to bolster the trust of local and national governments, which are crucial to its implementation. All necessary support measures, project registration, and licencing must be provided by national action plans, which must be in place. It is imperative that India adopt and promote renewable energy from an economic and sustainability standpoint, using qualitative and quantitative frameworks and empirical data.

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Last Updated : 14 Oct, 2022
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