News: The Union Government is working on a plan to use stubble as a biofuel and manure as part of an effort to deal with stubble burning that was often cited as a source of pollution in northern India.
Centre had completely “decriminalised” stubble burning in the Air Quality Commission Act.
The National Thermal Power Corporation had procured 3,000 tonnes of stubble to be used as bio-fuel and would study the results. A sum of ₹700 crore had been allocated to get rid of stubble. About one lakh acres of manure and compost from stubble were used in Punjab and Haryana, while Uttar Pradesh used it in six lakh acres.
Biofuel is a fuel that is produced through contemporary processes from biomass, rather than by the very slow geological processes involved in the formation of fossil fuels, such as oil.
Since biomass technically can be used as a fuel directly (e.g. wood logs), some people use the terms biomass and biofuel interchangeably.
More often than not, however, the word biomass simply denotes the biological raw material the fuel is made of, or some form of thermally/chemically altered solid end product, like torrefied pellets or briquettes.
Biofuel can be produced from plants (i.e. energy crops), or from agricultural, commercial, domestic, and/or industrial wastes (if the waste has a biological origin).
Biofuel generally involve contemporary carbon fixation, such as those that occur in plants or microalgae through the process of photosynthesis.
The greenhouse gas mitigation potential of biofuel varies considerably, from emission levels comparable to fossil fuels in some scenarios to negative emissions in others.
The two most common types of biofuel are bioethanol and biodiesel.
Bioethanol is an alcohol made by fermentation, mostly from carbohydrates produced in sugar or starch crops such as corn, sugarcane, or sweet sorghum. Cellulosic biomass, derived from non-food sources, such as trees and grasses, is also being developed as a feedstock for ethanol production. Ethanol can be used as a fuel for vehicles in its pure form (E100), but it is usually used as a gasoline additive to increase octane and improve vehicle emissions. Bioethanol is widely used in the United States and in Brazil.
Biodiesel is produced from oils or fats using transesterification and is the most common biofuel in Europe. It can be used as a fuel for vehicles in its pure form (B100), but it is usually used as a diesel additive to reduce levels of particulates, carbon monoxide, and hydrocarbons from diesel-powered vehicles.
2. INTERNATIONAL SOLAR ALLIANCE
News: The UN General Assembly has conferred Observer Status on the International Solar Alliance (ISA), a historic decision which India said would help provide for a well-defined cooperation between the alliance and the UN that would benefit global energy growth and development.
About International Solar Alliance:
The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is an alliance of 124 countries initiated by India, most of them being the sunshine countries, which lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.
The primary objective of the alliance is to work for efficient consumption of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
The alliance is a treaty-based inter-governmental organization. Countries that do not fall within the Tropics can join the alliance and enjoy all benefits as other members, with the exception of voting rights.
After the United Nations, it is the largest grouping of states world-wide.
The focus is on solar power utilization. The launching of such an alliance in Paris also sends a strong signal to the global communities about the sincerity of the developing nations towards their concern about climate change and to switch to a low-carbon growth path.
India has pledged a target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy of which 100 GW will be solar energy by 2022 and reduction in emission intensity by 33–35% by 2030 to let solar energy reach to the most unconnected villages and communities and also towards creating a clean planet.