'2nd gen biofuels can meet half of India's gasoline demands'

India can meet nearly half of its gasoline demands by producing second-generation biofuels from its huge agricultural residue, according to a top official of a global bio-tech organisation.

New Delhi: India can meet nearly half of its gasoline demands by producing second-generation biofuels from its huge agricultural residue, according to a top official of a global bio-tech organisation.

"Second generation biofuels have the ability to help India meet its growing energy needs while providing reduced GHG emissions and the opportunity for economic and job growth through the domestic production of biofuels," said Steen Riisgaard, CEO of Denmark-based Novozymes.

He said second generation biofuels have the potential to meet up to 59 per cent of India's gasoline demand in 2020. "This would help the country move from a high dependence on foreign oil towards greater transport fuel self-sufficiency."

Riisgaard claimed his company controls around 60 per cent of biofuel enzyme market in the world and it is working along with its partners on second generation ethanol across the US, Latin America, Europe, China and India in an effort to move towards building a bio-based society.

"We recently introduced 'Cellic CTec3', which brings the cost of the second generation biofuels closer to the cost of gasoline or corn ethanol. With the energy security looming over and the oil prices spiralling, and with India's unique advantage in terms of agricultural residue availability, there is a huge opportunity India has in this regard," he said.

His company has "many plans" for India and these will be implemented on priority basis.

"India is a significant market for Novozymes and we believe we can positively contribute to the sustainable future of the country," he said.

Novozymes began its Indian operations in 1983 and now has three sites across the country.

Chandrasekhar told the panel that on the issue of 575 applicants for 2G spectrum, the then Telecom Secretary D S Mathur had said that "it has been decided by the Department that it would be based on existing criteria (first-come-first served) and not through auction route. This is in line with TRAI recommendations. However, for 3G spectrum, allocation will be considered on auction basis."

The former Cabinet Secretary said the then Finance Secretary wanted to know whether it is possible to consider the auction route even for 2G spectrum.

Quoting records, Chandrasekhar said, "Secretary DoT responded that this matter has been dealt with. TRAI has recommended that for 2G services, existing criteria should continue... As basis for following existing criteria was that there should be a level playing field for a new entrant vis-a-vis existing big players."

In January 2008, 122 2G licenses were allocated on first cum first served basis.

PTI

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