G20 2023 major outcome – Global Biofuel Alliance to make the world much greener and cleaner
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There was euphoria among the participant nations of the G20 2023 summit in India about many outcomes one among them being the Global Biofuel Alliance.
The major green development pact that came out of the summit focuses on financing, cutting global greenhouse gas emissions, a global biofuel alliance, sustainable development, and ending plastic pollution, among others. Few participating countries have come together enthusiastically to implement it in their respective countries.
India, along with Brazil and the US, launched the Global Biofuel Alliance. It is an initiative with a plea to take ethanol blending with petrol globally to 20 per cent. A total of 19 countries and 12 international organizations have so far agreed to join the alliance.
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi along with the leaders of Singapore, Bangladesh, Italy, USA, Brazil, Argentina, Mauritius and UAE, launched the Global Biofuel Alliance on 9 September 2023, on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in New Delhi.
Global Biofuel Alliance
Among many G20 2023 summit outcomes, one stood out, and that is Global Biofuel Alliance (GBA). Why GBA is so significant in these changing times? – The world is undergoing climate change at a rapid pace, and environmentalists blame the high levels of pollution for that.
What is causing the pollution? – The modern lifestyle is causing tremendous harm to nature, especially petrochemical refineries, steel, coal-based power plants, copper/ iron-ore smelting plants, etc. Power generation is highly dependent on depleting resources and extracting these resources is breaking the back of earth.
What’s the alternative? – The governments, environmentalists, scientists, bankers, and others came together and suggested goal-oriented, time-based measures to reduce the pollution levels to zero. They came up with a concrete roadmap to do that within an acceptable timeframe.
How is it done? – Over time, we need to stop using pollution-causing resources like coal, lignite, and petroleum crude to generate power. And instead use alternative feedstock like green Hydrogen, Hydropower, Biofuels, Solar, Nuclear, Thorium, etc. Among them, Biofuel is low-hanging fruit and not that difficult to implement.
What’s the big deal about biofuel? – Biofuel derives from biomass, which consists of plant or algae material and animal waste. Because biofuel can be easily replenished, it is deemed a source of renewable energy, in contrast to fossil fuels like petroleum, coal, and natural gas. Many often propose biofuel as a cost-effective and environmentally friendly substitute for petroleum and other fossil fuels.
Derivatives of Biofuel
Liquid biofuels are of particular interest because of the vast infrastructure already in place to use them, especially for transportation. The highest production of liquid biofuel is ethanol (ethyl alcohol). It is made by fermenting starch or sugar. The ethanol is blended with gasoline to produce “gasohol,” a fuel that has 10 percent ethanol. Ethanol as a blending agent in gasoline increases octane and cuts down carbon monoxide and other smog-causing emissions.
Biodiesel, primarily derived from oily plants like soybeans or oil palm and to a lesser extent from other oily sources such as waste cooking fat from restaurant deep-frying, constitutes the second most common liquid biofuel. Europe has shown the greatest acceptance of biofuel, primarily using it in diesel engines, often in various blends with conventional petroleum diesel fuel
The use of algae and cyanobacteria as a source of “third-generation” biodiesel holds promise but has been difficult to develop economically. Some algae species contain up to 40 percent lipids by weight, which can be converted into biodiesel or synthetic petroleum.
Other biofuels include methane gas and biogas. These biofuels can be derived from the decomposition of biomass in the absence of oxygen. Additionally, there are biofuels like methanol, butanol, and dimethyl ether that are still in the development phase.
Foundation of the Global Biofuel Alliance (GBA)
It was established with the vision to promote the production, consumption, and international trade of biofuels in a sustainable, economically viable, and environmentally friendly manner. As an alliance, it offers a platform for nations to collaborate on research and development, share best practices, and develop harmonized regulations to create a global biofuel market.
Key Objectives of the Global Biofuel Alliance
Research and Development: Promote innovation in biofuel production technologies to make them more efficient, sustainable, and cost-effective.
Standardization: Standardize biofuel quality criteria across member countries to ensure consistent performance and environmental standards.
Trade Facilitation: Address trade barriers and formulate policies to encourage international trade in biofuels.
Sustainability: Set guidelines and frameworks to safeguard against biofuel production’s impact on food security, deforestation, and biodiversity loss.
Capacity Building: Assist developing nations in building infrastructure and capacity for biofuel production and consumption.
The Way Forward
To address global energy and environmental challenges, a balanced and holistic approach is vital for authentic biofuel solutions. With its global perspective and collective expertise, the GBA is well-prepared to address these challenges. Through international cooperation, knowledge sharing, and sustainable practices, the GBA can lead to a greener, more sustainable future for Earth.
The global community is actively seeking sustainable alternatives to traditional fossil fuels. In this endeavor, this alliance will play an increasingly vital role. Through harmonizing efforts and establishing common standards and promoting collaboration, the GBA has the potential to solidify biofuels as a cornerstone in the world’s energy landscape.
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