India sets new record in ethanol blend with petrol

In the first four months of ethanol supply year 2020-21, India has reached more than 7.2%. This is the first time India has reached this level. This puts the country right on its course of achieving the target of 10% blending by 2022.

Current Scenario

  • If oil marketing companies lift the ethanol they had contracted for, then by November 2021, India shall reach an average blending of 8%. So far, the best ever ethanol blend with petrol in India was 5.2%.
  • In states of Karnataka, Gujarat, Goa, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Daman and Diu, Himachal Pradesh, 9.5% to 10% ethanol is being blended with petrol. These states and union territories are so close to achieving 2022 target.

Issues

According to ethanol policy, the sugar companies should deliver the contracted ethanol to the nearest Oil Marketing Company (OMC) depot. The OMCs are to pay transportation charges. Here, the problem is that the sugar companies are not getting full transport reimbursement. This is because, the base rate for transport was fixed in October 2020, that is, before the current increase in fuel price.

Ethanol Blended Programme

It was launched in 2003. The OMCs are advised to acquire ethanol on the following priority order under the programme

  • Sugarcane
  • B-Heavy molasses
  • C-Heavy molasses
  • Damaged food grains

Ethanol

  • Ethanol can be produced from maize, sugarcane, wheat, etc. In India, ethanol is mainly produced by fermentation process.
  • As ethanol consists of oxygen, it allows easy and complete combustion of the fuel.
  • Ethanol is considered as a renewable fuel as ethanol is produced from plants that use the power of sun.
  • Once blended ethanol cannot be separated from petrol.
  • Ethanol can be mixed with gasoline to form different blends.
  • However, the major disadvantage is using ethanol is that as ethanol can absorb moisture from atmosphere it can cause issues with vehicle engines.

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