The industry has the potential to reach $15 billion and employ 1 million workers in India by 2020. Researchers say significant new policies and investment will be required to succeed.
Agricultural residues from rice, wheat, maize and other crops in India could be converted into ethanol, allowing the country to play a significant role in the next-generation ethanol sector, according to research from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
According to the Bloomberg study, “Next-generation Ethanol: What’s in it for India?,” India will produce more than 125 million metric tons of the residues by 2020, at the same time next-generation ethanol may be a $15 billion-per-year industry. India’s success, and the success of the industry itself, however, depends on significant new policies and investment, according to the report. Currently, a liter of next-generation ethanol is no more cost-effective than a liter of conventional ethanol, unless significant government assistance is provided.
The creation of the next-generation ethanol industry could lower greenhouse gas emissions from transport fuels, reduce India’s dependence on oil imports and create jobs, said BNEF. In one scenario, up to 1 million workers could be hired to collect and convert the agricultural waste.