“The growing use of biofuel will be an inestimable contribution to the generation of income, social inclusion and reduction of poverty in many poor countries of the world.” – Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva-
Every year on the 10th of August, World Biofuel Day is observed with the goal of increasing awareness and promoting the use of biofuels and other non-fossil fuels for a brighter future. It also calls for a shift toward biofuels for a better world and the possibility of energy independence for most nations, particularly those that currently rely on foreign energy sources.
This day was established in India by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas in an effort to lessen the nation’s reliance on crude oil as a source of energy. The first World Biofuel Day was held on the 10th of August 2015 and in 2022 we will be celebrating its eighth anniversary.
On this day in 1893, Sir Rudolf Diesel, a famous German scientist, successfully ran a mechanical engine using peanut oil, making him the inventor of biofuel. He also foresaw that eventually, vegetable oil would take the place of fossil fuels, and it seems that now, the time for it has arrived. Thereby, this day also honors Sir Rudolf Diesel, the sole inventor of the diesel engine and as you can infer from the name, this day is observed to remember this accomplishment.
As Sri Lankans, we are aware of the current fuel crisis in our country and we all feel the pain of paying high costs for buying gas or fuel for our vehicles. And to make matters worse, it is expected that fuel prices will continue to rise over the coming years, causing significant damage to our budget in the future as well.
The only way to prevent this is to switch to alternative sources. Even though electric vehicles are one of the best alternatives, as they are still out of reach for many people around the world, especially in developing countries like Sri Lanka, and the cost of maintaining electric vehicles is also rising eventually, it is yet not an achievable choice for us.
As we have learned in the past that relying solely on one energy source would result in a monopoly, we somehow need to seek for suitable and cost-effective alternatives.
Thus, this increases the importance of biofuels because, at the moment, they are still affordable when compared to the cost of fuel. They are excellent sources of energy that do not contribute towards pollution also making them very eco-friendly and they are necessary in the fight against global warming. Additionally, since it helps to increase the income of rural areas, increased demand for biofuel would assist farmers to make some extra money.
We can implement a number of initiatives to increase the blending of biofuels. The major interventions include creating an administrative price mechanism for ethanol, simplifying the procurement procedures of OMCs, amending the provisions of industries (Development & Regulation) and enabling the lignocellulosic route for ethanol procurement.
In a conclusion, I would like to emphasize that biofuel is the best type of energy source for an evolutionary change in developing nations like ours to overcome the fuel shortage.