The use of bio fuel seems to be a viable solution amid the rising prices of petrol and diesel. Ethanol Blended Petrol reduces nitrogen oxide emissions compared to fossil fuels.
The Government of India has issued a draft notification on ethanol blending in petrol a few days back. This draft notification proposes blending of 12% and 15% ethanol as an automotive fuel in petrol, which will be available as E-12 and E-15 respectively.
The draft notification was issued in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement to extend the deadline for 20% ethanol blending from 2025 to 2025. The notification comes at a time when both petrol and diesel are being sold at very high prices in many cities across the country. Petrol prices have crossed the Rs 100 per liter mark in many cities, while diesel has also touched the Rs 100 range in many places. At the same time, many other cities are ready to cross this limit in a few days.
The Government of India has been emphasizing on electric mobility for a long time. However, there are challenges for e-mobility. The industry is also emphasizing this and considering that the shareholders are recommending the need for electrification as well as other green fuel solutions like CNG, Bio fuel. The use of bio fuel appears to be a viable solution, but it has not been fully explored in India.
In foreign markets such as Brazil and the US, ethanol is used significantly as an alternative fuel solution. The proportion of ethanol blending in petrol is high in both these countries. India also now aims to explore the potential of blending ethanol in petrol. Currently, India uses fuel with an 8.5% blend of ethanol. It is said to go up to 20% by 2023.
What is Ethanol?
Ethanol is a biofuel obtained from fermentation of sugarcane and corn. Ethanol, primarily made from jaggery, serves as an alternative fuel solution to conventional petrol and diesel. It does not emit any particulate matter into the air.
Burning of ethanol releases carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, water and formaldehyde. Most vehicles come with a technology to oxygenate carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. This fuel reduces nitrogen oxide emissions compared to fossil fuels. Thus, ethanol is cleaner and a renewable energy source.
How can ethanol mixed petrol be beneficial for India?
- India is one of the largest sugarcane producers in the world. It was the second largest sugarcane producer globally after Brazil. According to Union Road and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, sugarcane production in India in 2018 was 50-60 lakh tonnes surplus. With such significant sugarcane production potential, a part of it can be used for ethanol production. This will help the farmers.
- The price of a liter of ethanol in India is currently Rs 62.65, while it is around Rs 100 for a liter of petrol and above Rs 90 for a liter of diesel. This means that ethanol or ethanol-mixed petrol will significantly reduce the fuel cost of consumers as compared to pure fossil fuel vehicles.
- With the implementation of the ethanol policy, the fossil fuel dependence will be much less than now. India currently imports 80% of its fossil fuel requirement. This translates into a huge fuel bill for the country. With Ethanol Mixed Petrol, the fuel import bill will come down significantly.
- With ethanol-mixed petrol, the vehicular pollution levels are expected to come down significantly. Ethanol is a non-toxic, biodegradable fuel solution. It is also safe to handle, store and transport. This oxygenated fuel contains 35% oxygen and emits less pollutants into the air than petrol or diesel.
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