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Roadmap for Ethanol Blending in India

Roadmap for Ethanol Blending in India

Why in news?

  • The central government has 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.

Key Reccomendations Of The Panel

  • Incentivising Ethanol Blended Vehicle: Globally, vehicles compliant with higher ethanol blends are provided with tax benefits.A similar approach may be followed.
  • Augmenting Infrastructure for Oil Marketing Companies: OMCs will need to prepare for the projected requirement of ethanol storage, handling, blending and dispensing infrastructure.
  • Notifying Ethanol Blending Roadmap: MoP&NG should immediately notify the plan for pan-India availability of E10 fuel by April, 2022 and its continued availability thereafter until 2025 for older vehicles, and launch of E20 in the country in phases from April, 2023 onwards so as to make E20 available by April, 2025.
  • Pricing of Ethanol Blended Gasoline: For better acceptability of higher ethanol blends in the country, retail price of such fuels should be lower than normal petrol to compensate for the reduction in calorific value and incentivize switching to the blended fuel.
  • Expediting Regulatory Clearances: Currently, ethanol production plants/distilleries fall under the “Red category” and require environmental clearance under the Air and Water Acts for new and expansion projects.

Roadmap For Ethanol Blending

  • The Central Government instituted an Expert Committee under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG).
  • It has come out with a report called 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.
  • In order to introduce vehicles that are compatible, the committee recommends roll out of E20 material-compliant and E10 engine-tuned vehicles from April 2023.
  • Vehicles with E20-tuned engines can be rolled out all across the country from April 2025.
  • These vehicles can tolerate 10 to 20 percent of ethanol blended petrol and also deliver optimal performance with E10 fuel.
  • Currently, 8.5 percent of ethanol is blended with petrol in India.

Recommendations of the Roadmap

  • Lower pricing of ethanol blended Gasoline
  • Speed up regulatory clearances
  • Notify Ethanol Blending Roadmap
  • Incentivise Ethanol Blended Vehicle
  • Better Infrastructure for Oil Marketing Companies

What is Ethanol fuel?

  • Ethanol fuel is ethyl alcohol, the same type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, used as fuel.
  • It is most often used as a motor fuel, mainly as a biofuel additive for gasoline.
  • Ethanol is commonly made from biomass such as corn or sugarcane.
  • Bioethanol is a form of renewable energy that can be produced from agricultural feedstocks.
  • It can be made from very common crops such as hemp, sugarcane, potato, cassava and corn.
  • There has been considerable debate about how useful bioethanol is in replacing gasoline.
  • Concerns about its production and use relate to increased food prices due to the large amount of arable land required for crops, as well as the energy and pollution balance of the whole cycle of ethanol production, especially from corn.

Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme (EBP)

  • Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) programme was launched in 2003- and this initiative is pursued aggressively in the last 4 to 5 years to reduce import dependence of crude oil as well as mitigate environmental pollution.
  • The Ethanol Blending Programme (EBP) seeks to achieve blending of Ethanol with motor sprit with a view to reducing pollution, conserve foreign exchange and increase value addition in the sugar industry enabling them to clear cane price arrears of farmers.
  • Although the Government of India decided to launch EBP programme in 2003 for supply of 5% ethanol blended Petrol, it later scaled up blending targets from 5% to 10% under the Ethanol Blending Programme (EBP).
  • The Government of India has also advanced the target for 20% ethanol blending in petrol (also called E20) to 2025 from 2030.
  • Currently, 8.5% of ethanol is blended with petrol in India.

Benefits

  • Energy Security: It will improve energy security and self-sufficiency measures.
  • Swachh Bharat Mission: Contributing to Swachh Bharat Mission by supporting the aggregation of non­food biofuel feedstocks such as waste biomass and urban waste.
  • Reduces Imports: The Union government has emphasised that increased use of ethanol can help reduce the oil import bill. India’s net import cost stands 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.
  • Water Saving Crops: The government plans to encourage use of water-saving crops, such as maize, to produce ethanol, and production of ethanol from non-food feedstock.
  • Farmer’s income: It provides for farmers to earn extra income if they grow produce that helps in ethanol production like sugarcane and its byproducts.
  • Decreasing pollution: Use of ethanol-blended petrol decreases emissions such as carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). Higher reductions in CO emissions were observed with E20 fuel – 50 percent lower in two-wheelers and 30 percent lower in four-wheelers.
  • Employment: It is creating rural & urban employment opportunities in 2G Ethanol projects and Biomass supply chain.

Challenges

  • Expensive: These fuels although are cleaner and complete combustion takes place in them but have higher evaporative emissions from fuel tanks and dispensing equipment. Thereby making them costly.
  • Making efficient vehicles: There is an estimated loss of six-seven per cent fuel efficiency for four wheelers and three-four per cent for two wheelers when using E20. These vehicles are originally designed for E20 and calibrated for E10.
  • Feedstock availability: Availability of sufficient feedstock on a sustainable basis viz., sugarcane, food grains are a major challenge. States like Chattisgarh have raised the issue of permitting rice procured by the state government to be allowed for production of ethanol. The list of feedstocks allowed for production of ethanol needs to be expanded.
  • Inter-state movement of ethanol: While an amendment has been made to the Industries (Development and Regulation) Act which legislates exclusive control of denatured ethanol by the central government for smooth movement of ethanol across the country, the same has not been implemented by states thereby restricting this movement of ethanol.
  • Unregulated emissions: The unregulated carbonyl emissions, such as acetaldehyde emission were higher with E10 and E20 compared to normal petrol. No reduction in NOx is seen even after the use of ethanol blended fuel.
  • Capacity Expansion: A majority of the ethanol units are concentrated in 4 to 5 states where sugar production is high but food grain-based distilleries should be increased in number and be set up across India along with modern tech-based plants to make ethanol from agricultural waste.
  • Regulatory clearance: This procedure takes time and delays the implementation of the Policy. At present, Ethanol production plants/distilleries fall under the “Red category” and require environmental clearance under the Air and Water Acts for new and expansion projects.

Government’s Initiatives

  • The National Policy on Biofuels–2018, provides an indicative target of 20% ethanol blending under the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme by 2030.
  • The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has mandated stickers on vehicles mentioning their E20, E85 or E100 compatibility. This will pave the way for flex fuel vehicles. Flex fuel engines can run any ratio of blended petrol from E20 to E100.
  • E100 pilot project: It has been inaugurated in Pune. TVS Apache two-wheelers are designed to run on E80 or pure ethanol (E100).
  • Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN Yojana, 2019: The scheme aims to create an ecosystem for setting up commercial projects and boost Research and Development in the 2G Ethanol sector.
  • GOBAR (Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources) DHAN Scheme, 2018: The scheme aims to positively impact village cleanliness and generate wealth and energy from cattle and organic waste.
  • Repurpose Used Cooking Oil (RUCO): The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has launched this initiative that will enable collection and conversion of used cooking oil to biodiesel.

 

ALSO READ : https://www.brainyias.com/organic-farming-in-india/

 

Mussoorie Times

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