Tuesday, November 29, 2011

India Bio-fuel Market: Caught in headwinds

Bio-fuel is an interesting subject in India's renewable energy scenario. Its one of the most High Potential and Under-Utilized renewable energy sources in India. Both macro-economic and environmental factors favor bio-fuels but yet it has failed to take off.  Technology, Govt. policies, Supply chain are some of the fronts where serious challenges lies. It forms an interesting case of how the interplay of market and non-market forces constrain a market from developing and reaching its true scale and potential.

Based on my study and interactions, the Key Success factors for a sustainable bio-fuel business are:
  • Off-take Contracts with Oil Marketing Companies (Remunerative prices if possible)
  • Secure financing from Govt. institutions for Gestation period.
  • Large plantation to provide economies of scale in farming, processing and transportation. (Or ensure high raw material supply through contracts).
  • Choose the location wisely depending on support for bio-fuels from state govt.
  • Use high yielding cultivars and best farming practices. Go for non-food crop land or intercropping with food crops.
  • First preference to crops which are economically viable and approved for blending. Eg: Jatropha, Pongamia, Molasses
  • Alternate bio-fuels from Sugarbeet, Sorgham, Sugarcane, Algae, cellulosic only if financial support is secured from Govt. or Pvt. agencies and a guaranteed off-take agreement from OMCs(Oil Marketing Companies) or other.

The presentation, pruned for public viewing, can be accessed at 

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