What is ethanol blending and how can it reduce oil imports?

Prime Minister Modi has informed that India has reached the 10% ethanol blending target, 5 months ahead of schedule. In 2014, the ethanol blend was 1.5%.

Talking about its benefits, he said, “First, it resulted in a reduction of 27 lakh tonnes of carbon emissions. Secondly, it has saved foreign exchange worth Rs 41,000 crore and thirdly, farmers in the country have earned Rs 40,600 crore in the past eight years due to the increase in ethanol blending .

In India, the world’s average carbon footprint is over 4 tonnes per person per year, compared to just 0.5 tonnes per person per year.

What is Ethanol Blend?

In ethanol blending, a blended motor fuel containing ethyl alcohol derived from agricultural products is specifically blended with gasoline.


Ethanol is a biofuel, produced naturally by the fermentation of sugars by yeasts or by petrochemical processes such as the hydration of ethylene. Ethanol has a high oxygen content, which allows an engine to burn fuel more completely. It is also used for other purposes such as antiseptic, disinfectant and chemical and solvent synthesis of organic compounds.

How is ethanol produced in India?

In India, the nodal department for the promotion of fuel-grade ethanol-producing distilleries is the Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD).

Ethanol is produced or obtained from raw materials made from sugar cane which are. C&B heavy molasses, cane juice, sugar syrup, surplus rice with Food Corporation of India (FCI) and corn.

An article published by NITI Aayog stated that in 2019, more than 110 billion liters of ethanol were produced globally. The United States and Brazil account for 84% of global production, followed by the European Union, China, India, Canada and Thailand.

What are the benefits of ethanol blending?

Currently, India imports more than 85% of its oil needs and ethanol blending could help reduce its dependence on oil. In 2020-2021, India’s net oil import was 185 million tons at USD 551 billion. Thus, ethanol blending can help save billions of dollars for the country.

Reuters/Representative Image

Significantly, ethanol is a less polluting and equally efficient fuel at a lower cost than gasoline. Ethanol is considered renewable because it is a plant-based fuel.

Blending 20% ​​ethanol in gasoline can potentially cut the car fuel import bill by Rs 30,000 crore per year.

What is the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) program?

Launched in 2003, the Ethanol Blended Petrol program promotes the use of renewable and environmentally friendly fuels and focuses on reducing India’s fuel imports. It is implemented in accordance with the National Biofuels Policy.

BCCL/Representative picture

Under this program, a target has been set by the government of 10% ethanol blending by 2022 and 20% (E20) blending by 2030. In addition, the purchase price of ethanol by Petroleum Marketing Companies (OMC) is set by the government and OMC. can be obtained from national sources.

Previously, only sugar cane was used to produce ethanol, but cereals like corn, bajra, waste fruits and vegetables, etc. are also authorized to produce ethanol. He was allowed to help farmers earn extra income.

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