6th International Biofuels ConferencePrint this Page
March 4, 2009
March 5, 2009
Winrock International India organized the 6th International Biofuels Conference on March 4 � 5, 2009 at Hotel Le Meridien, New Delhi. This is the 6th in a series of annual International Conferences on Biofuels that WII organizes. With controversies raging across the world regarding the viability of Biofuels as an effective and sustainable renewable energy option, and the negative impacts it could have on the agricultural sector, the Biofuels Conferences provide a platform for stakeholders to deliberate on some of the most contentious and relevant issues and provides in-depth information about the local and global potential of the sector.
Aiming to map the progress, technological developments and innovations in the Biofuels sector, the 6th International Biofuels Conference witnessed presentations by subject experts from both within India and abroad. From policy perspectives to debating the promotion of algal biodiesel or discussing Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) and sustainability, several key issues were covered.
The conference was inaugurated by Mr. Debashish Majumdar, CMD, Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited, who in his inaugural address said that one of the factors for the success in the development of renewable energy for the power sector would be the development of a strong policy that also encourages investment, especially in the private sector.
The conference agreed that advances in genetics, biotechnology processes, chemical and engineering are leading to new concepts for converting renewable biomass to valuable fuels and other products. The conference also agreed that Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) can be a useful tool for the consideration of environmental aspects of sustainability, and the development of a data model would ensure that every producer of biofuels does not have to commission a full scale LCA study.
It was repeatedly emphasized that a roadmap for alternative fuel use for India such that the product is available on a sustainable basis, should be prepared, to enable the auto industry to come out with optimized models. It was also felt the biodiesel industry can be much more attractive if the by-products of the bio-diesel industry are effectively utilized, through the several technologies that are already commercially available.
As large scale plantations of Jatropha are in existence in several Indian states, it was a positive sign that would lead to the availability of raw material for future processing plants. The future availability of lingo cellulosic biomass, algal biodiesel and other renewable fuels could be expected to achieve breakthroughs in the very near future.
The final session, a panel discussion, was chaired by Mr. V. Subramanian, former Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, with panelist Dr. HL Sharma, Director Biofuels, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Govt. of India, who mentioned that the long awaited National Biofuels Policy for India was with the Cabinet for clearance and would be adopted soon. Mr. Dilip Chenoy, Director General, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers; Dr. Veena Joshi, Team Leader, Rural Energy and Housing, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and Mr. A.K Goel, General Manager, PCRA, were the other panelists who were all of the opinion that sustainability was a key issue that had to be addressed.
In order to further develop the Biofuels conference and to ensure the progress and effective implementation of Winrock�s Biofuels Program, WII has also constituted a special Biofuels Advisory Panel, chaired by Mr. Anand Kumar, Director R&D, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., comprising leaders from various streams like Oil Companies, Government, Corporate, Industry bodies and NGO sector, which will contribute significantly to creating a roadmap for the future of Biofuels in India.
In his concluding remarks at the closing of the conference, Dr. Kinsuk Mitra, President Winrock International India, while thanking the participants said, �the 6th International Biofuels Conference, has raised the bar substantially in the quality of the presentations, the enthusiasm of the participants and the sheer extent of information sharing that has taken place. Another laudable development has been the participation of a record number of young students who have infused vitality into the proceedings of the conference. I congratulate all who have been a part of this Biofuels conference and look forward to even better conferences in the coming years.�
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