India is one step forward towards a greener India by boosting its Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme. While addressing the country at the event of World Environment Day 2021, today Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked oil companies to double the percentage of ethanol in petrol.
Now, the new ethanol blending target is 20% by the year 2025. The government is all set with a new roadmap to meet this goal but it is not something beneficial only for the country and environment. However, the challenges it poses are the real concern.
आज से 7-8 साल पहले देश में इथेनॉल की कभी उतनी चर्चा नहीं होती थी। लेकिन अब इथेनॉल 21वीं सदी के भारत की बड़ी प्राथमिकताओं से जुड़ गया है।
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 5, 2021
Here are few things about ethanol-blended petrol everyone should know.
Understand The Green Fuel (Ethanol) From The Scratch
Ethanol or Ethyl alcohol is a colorless and volatile organic compound produced by sugar fermentation. It is the major ingredient in alcoholic beverages thus it is also known as drinking alcohol. The organic chemical compound is also a popular fuel source due to its high energy content.
3 Uses Of Ethanol
• As a solvent
• production of beer, wine, and other alcoholic beverages
• Use in gasohol production
However, it is majorly used as an engine fuel due to its ability to produce less carbon emission and ozone polluting substances. Thus, many countries like U.S and Brazil are also relying on this biofuel. Brazil is the major producer of ethanol in the world and uses 95 percent of ethanol in gasoline.
On the other hand countries like the US have kept the limit of 10 percent. Some countries also use 85 percent gasoline mixtures to fuel vehicles.
7 Things To Know About Ethanol-Blended Petrol Programme
1. The project was launched a decade ago in 2003 initially in two states of India. Miraj, Bareilly, and Manmad were the first cities to get approval for this pilot project. The aim is to promote the use of bio-fuel or eco-friendly fuel to power vehicles.
2. Later on, 9 more states join the EBP program and approved the use of 5% ethanol-blended petrol.
3. In 2006, 20 more States and 4 Union Territories excluding Andaman, Nicobar, and Lakshwadeep became a part of this project.
4. In the year 2019, the percentage of ethanol in petrol increased to 10 percent but few states like Tamil Nadu kept the blending percentage to 1.91%. This is 6.73% for the year 2021.
5. IOCL, HPCL, and BPCL are the three major oil companies producing ethanol-blended petrol.
6. Ethanol is easily available but the prices can become a major factor in deciding the petrol prices. Seeing which government has cut the GST rate to 5% on ethanol under this program.
7. Although sugarcane is the prime source of ethanol, GOI has permitted the use of maize and rice for the same. This would boost farmer’s income whilst India’s ethanol production.
3 Major Challenges For India In Green Fuel Production
1. Flex-Fuel Engines
Low carbon footprint and better fuel combustion make it a better alternative fuel but the challenges lie in producing flex-fuel compatible engines. The challenge is more for two-wheelers in comparison to cars. Moreover, the flex modules bikes would be costlier than their counterparts.
2. Fuel Vs Food
Although it would reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, it may increase land pollution. More land will be required to grow sugarcane and other ethanol-producing crops that may reduce the land area required for food production.
3. Water For Fuel
Water is another concern of experts as these are water-intense crops which are although no issue for water-rich states. But it is troublesome for water-scarce areas which in turn affect the farmers as well.
Another concern is the high water attraction capabilities of ethanol that will give rise to engine problems.
But on the other hand, this green fuel will emerge extremely beneficial for consumers as it will cut the petrol prices to a larger extent.