How can Methanol Economy be helpful for India? What are major roadblocks in to use Methanol as an alternative fuel? Discuss the current government policy towards promoting extensive use of Methanol in cooking gas and transportation fuel in India.

India is the third biggest oil importer in the world. Import bill of crude oil occupies a major share in the Government’s expenditure accounting to almost Rs.6 lakh crores. In order to bring down this, the government is trying to adopt various alternate fuels for cooking and transportation.
Methanol is perceived to be a better alternative considering its wide range of advantages. Methanol is a safer, cheaper and cleaner substitute to fossil fuels. Production of Methanol is easy and can be produced at larger quantities in lesser period of time.
The major road blocks in the transformation to methanol economy include the lack of awareness among the people, research and development is at a nascent stage and the absence of production plants. 
The following steps have been taken by the government towards promoting Methanol,

  • Recently, the Bureau of Indian Standards has certified Methanol as a fuel.
  • Four task forces have been constituted in 2017 which comprises experts, scientists and academicians who meet frequently and are exploring ways to establish a Methanol economy.
  • Introduction of Methanol as a substitute. The plan to introduce a blend of 15% Methanol in petroleum is taking shape through policies. This step would not only reduce the burden on government form crude oil import but also reduces the cost of petroleum by ten percent, thereby favouring the citizens as well.
  • The roadmap for a Methanol economy is being chalked out by the NITI Aayog on the lines of Narendra Modi’s vision to bring down the crude oil import burden by a USD 100 billion annually by 2030. Methanol is going to be presented as an alternative fuel in marine and water transport sector, railways and even cooking gas.
  • A methanol economy fund is being constituted by the center with a Rs. 5000 crore as initial allocation to kick start the production of Methanol from January 1st The government aims to achieve an installed capacity of 3-4 million tonnes of Methanol in the next five to eight years using Indian high ash coal, stranded gas and biomass.
  • Government is approaching the municipal bodies to use the solid wastes at landfills as a site to produce Methanol by the method of gasification.


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