- On June 5, 2021 (on World Environment Day), Prime Minister Narendra Modi advanced the country’s target of 20 percent ethanol blending in petrol (also called E-20) by five years to 2025, from 2030.
- E20 will be rolled out from April, 2023.
- The Prime Minister has also released an expert committee report on the Roadmap for Ethanol blending in India by 2025.
- The roadmap proposes a gradual rollout of Ethanol – blended fuel to achieve E10 fuel supply by April 2022 and phased rollout of E20 from April 2023 to April 2025.
- The Prime Minister also launched three pilot E-100 ethanol dispensing stations in Pune, Maharashtra.
What is Ethanol blending
- Ethanol is one of the principal biofuels, which is naturally produced by the fermentation of sugar by yeast or via petrochemical process such as ethylene hydration.
- The National Policy on Biofuels – 2018, provides an indicative target of 20% ethanol blending under the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme by 2030.
- Currently, petrol with 10% ethanol blend (E10) is being retailed by various Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) in the country. Ethanol blending programme for petrol & diesel was first launched by the A.B. Vajpayee government in 2001 with 3 pilot projets covering 300 petrol pumps in U.P. and Maharashtra. The government of India had launched pilot projects in 2001 wherein, 5% ethanol blended petrol was supplied to retail outlets.
How Ethanol blending will benefit the country
- India is the world’s third-biggest oil importer, relying on foreign suppliers to meet nearly 85 percent of its demand. The move will help reduce the country’s dependence on costly oil imports.
- India’s net oil import cost stand at $551 billion in 2020-21. It is estimated that the E20 program can save the country $4 billion (Rs. 30,000 crore) per annum.
- In the year 2020, oil companies procured ethanol worth about Rs. 21,000 crore. Hence it is benefitting the sugarcane farmers.
- Use of ethanol-blended petrol decreases emissions such as carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbon (HC) and nitrogen oxides (NOx).
International Practices on Ethanol blending in Petrol
- The global production of fuel ethanol touched 110 billion litres in 2019 showing an average growth of 4% per year during the last decade.
- The US & Brazil account for 84 percent of the global production followed by the European Union (EU) China, India, Canada & Thailand.
- Brazil legislated that the ethanol content in gasoline sold in the country should be in range of 18% to 27.5%, which is currently 27%.
Nodal Agency for Ethanol Production
- Department of Food &Public Distribution (DFPD) is the nodal department for promotion of fuel grade ethanol producing distilleries in country.
Challenges in Rollout of E20 program
As we progress towards higher blending of ethanol, careful monitoring and assessment of emissions changes will be needed to make sure that emission reduction potential can be enhanced both for regulated and unregulated pollutants.
Yogesh Pratap Singh