India’s state-run fuel retailers have launched the country’s first tender for biodiesel, seeking to procure 850M litres of biodiesel from local manufacturers between now and March 2016, reports the Economic Times.

According to the tender document, the Indian Oil Corporation would procure about 40% of the total quantity while the balance would be shared between Bharat Petroleum Corp and Hindustan Petroleum Corp, the report said.

The biodiesel will have to be delivered at multiple locations across the country from August through to March 2016, with technical and price bids to be submitted online by19 August.

The report said the tender would help retailers discover the price of biodiesel and ready themselves for blending when it became mandatory.

Uncertainty on the availability of biodiesel had slowed progress towards mandatory blending.

The National Policy on Biofuels had proposed a 20% blending ratio for both biodiesel and ethanol by 2017, the report said.

Currently, the government has made it mandatory only to blend 5% ethanol – chiefly produced from sugar and corn – with petrol. A 12.36% excise duty levied on ethanol supplied for blending was removed three months ago and the government also raised the import duty on sugar to 40% from 25% to support the local sugar industry.