India hits 10% ethanol blend target in gasoline

India is considering an indicative target of 20% ethanol blended into gasoline by 2030.

On World Environment Day, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India had reached the target of 10% ethanol blended in gasoline five months ahead of the deadline.

Making the announcement during a program on the “Save Soil Movement”, which coincided with World Environment Day, Prime Minister Modi cited a number of measures taken by his government to protect the environment, claiming that his efforts have been multi-dimensional despite the country having a negligible role in climate change.

Increasing the blend of ethanol in petrol from 2% in 2014 to 10% has now reduced carbon emissions by 2.7 million tonnes and saved Rs 41,000 crore in foreign exchange reserve. It also brought in Rs 400,000 million in revenue for farmers, he added. In his address, the Prime Minister also said that India had also met its target of having 40% of its electricity generation installed from non-fossil sources nine years ahead of the deadline.

According to an Indian government press release, the Indian government is promoting the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) program. The “National Biofuels Policy” notified by the government in 2018 provided an indicative target of 20% ethanol blended in gasoline by 2030. However, given the encouraging performance, due to the various interventions made by the government since 2014, the goal of 20% ethanol blending has been advanced from 2030 to 2025-26.

A “Roadmap for Ethanol Blending in India 2020-25” was also released by the Prime Minister in June 2021, which set out a detailed pathway to achieve 20% ethanol blending. This roadmap also mentioned an intermediate milestone of 10% mixing to be achieved by November 2022.

However, the 10% blending target under the program was achieved well ahead of the November 2022 target deadline thanks to the coordinated efforts of public sector petroleum marketing companies (CMOs). The press release adds that this achievement over the past eight years has not only increased India’s energy security, but has also resulted in an impact on foreign exchange, reduction in greenhouse gas emissions ( GHG) and led to the prompt payment of over Rs 406,000 million to farmers. . With all the initiatives taken by the government, the EBP program is on track to achieve the target of 20% mixing by 2025-2026.

An article in The Print, however, points out that this despite many questions being raised about the viability of foodgrain-based ethanol to reach 20% blending with gasoline by 2025, particularly regarding food security and water scarcity. Currently, most gasoline available at pumps in India is of the “E10” variety, a fuel blend with around 5-10% ethanol. The government wants to increase the amount of ethanol blended into gasoline to the “E20” level, which will contain between 15 and 20 percent ethanol in the fuel. This is aimed at reducing India’s reliance on imported crude oil, as India imports 85% of its crude oil.

The print article says serious questions are being asked about ethanol blending, and pressure from the government has seen stocks at sugar mills and liquor companies rise, but valid concerns remain about the diversion of food supplies towards the production of ethanol, in particular as a food product. the crisis is looming on a global scale. At the same time, the investments required by oil companies to maintain multiple supply chains for many fuels will become increasingly problematic.

The US Department of Energy defines ethanol as a renewable fuel made from various plant materials collectively referred to as “biomass”. Ethanol (CH3CH2OH) is a clear, colorless liquid. It is also known as ethyl alcohol, grain alcohol, and EtOH. Ethanol has the same chemical formula whether it is produced from starch or sugar-based feedstocks, such as corn grain (as is mostly the case in the United States), cane sugar (as is mainly the case in Brazil) or from cellulosic raw materials. raw materials (such as wood chips or crop residues).

Ethanol has a higher octane rating than gasoline, providing superior blending properties. Minimum octane requirements for gasoline prevent engine knock and ensure drivability. Low-octane gasoline is blended with 10 percent ethanol to achieve the standard octane rating of 87. Ethanol contains less energy per gallon than gasoline, to varying degrees, depending on the volume percentage of ethanol in the mixture. Denatured ethanol (98% ethanol) contains approximately 30% less energy than gasoline per gallon. The impact of ethanol on fuel economy depends on the ethanol content of the fuel and whether an engine is optimized to run on gasoline or ethanol.

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