Niti Aayog Releases Roadmap for Ethanol Blending in India 2020-25

Niti Aayog Releases Roadmap for Ethanol Blending in India 2020-25

On the occasion of World Environment Day 2021, PM Modi released the “Report of the Expert Committee on Roadmap for Ethanol Blending in India 2020-2025“. He also launched the ambitious E-100 pilot project in Pune for the production and distribution of ethanol across the country. The theme for this year’s event is ‘promotion of biofuels for a better environment’.

Government of India has resolved to meet the target of 20 percent ethanol blending in petrol by 2025. The National Biofuel Policy 2018 had earlier envisaged an indicative target of 20% blending of ethanol in petrol and 5% blending of biodiesel in diesel by 2030.

To commemorate World Environment Day, Government of India is released E-20 Notification directing Oil Companies to sell ethanol blended petrol with percentage of ethanol up to 20% from 1st April 2023; and BIS Specifications for higher ethanol blends E12 & E15.

About 98% of the fuel requirement in the road transportation sector is currently met by fossil fuels and the remaining 2% by biofuels. Today, India imports 85% of its oil requirement.

Immense benefits can accrue to the country by 20% ethanol blending by 2025, such as saving Rs 30,000 crore of foreign exchange per year, energy security, lower carbon emissions, better air quality, self-reliance, use of damaged foodgrains, increasing farmers’ incomes, employment generation, and greater investment opportunities. 

Increased ethanol blending with fossil fuels will help reduce pollution and strengthen India’s resolve towards fulfilling commitments made at COP-21, the UN Climate Change Conference held in France in 2015.

What is Ethanol ?

Ethanol is one of the principal biofuels, which is naturally produced by the fermentation of sugars by yeasts or via petrochemical processes such as ethylene hydration. It has medical applications as an antiseptic and disinfectant. It is used as a chemical solvent and in the synthesis of organic compounds, apart from being an alternative fuel source.

The global production of fuel ethanol touched 110 billion litres in 2019 showing an average growth of 4% year per year during the last decade. The United States of America (USA) and Brazil contribute for 92 billion litres (84% of global share) followed by European Union (EU), China, India, Canada and Thailand.

The prices of ethanol produced in India are higher in comparison to global players, since the cost of raw materials viz. sugarcane and food grains are fixed by the government to support the farming community.

Use of Ethanol in Vehicles

The calorific value of ethanol is around 2/3rd of gasoline. This indicates that the increase in ethanol content will decrease the heating value of the ethanol-gasoline blend. Hence, more fuel is required to achieve the same engine power output.

However, ethanol has a higher octane number and thus the engine can be operated with a high compression ratio without knocking. This increases the efficiency of the engine considerably. This combined with optimal spark timing negates the fuel economy debit due to low calorific value of ethanol. Hence, ethanol is considered as an efficient fuel provided suitable modifications are made in the vehicle.

Currently produced two-wheeler and passenger vehicles in the country are designed optimally for E5, with rubber and plastic components compatible with E10 fuel; their engine can be calibrated for E10 for better performance. As the EBP rolls out in the country, vehicles need to be produced with rubberized parts, plastic components and elastomers compatible with E20 and engines optimally designed for use of E20 fuel.

SIAM has assured the committee that once a road-map for making E10 and E20 available in the country is notified by MoPNG, they would gear up to supply compatible vehicles in line with the roadmap for Ethanol Blending in India 2020-25.

E-20 Roadmap Milestones

The E-20 roadmap proposes the following milestones:

  • Raise pan-India ethanol production capacity from the current 700 to 1500 crore litres
  • Phased rollout of E10 fuel by April 2022
  • Phased rollout of E20 from April 2023, its availability by April 2025
  • Rollout of E20 material-compliant and E10 engine-tuned vehicles from April 2023
  • Production of E20-tuned engine vehicles from April 2025
  • Nationwide educational campaign
  • Encourage use of water-sparing crops, such as maize, to produce ethanol
  • Promote technology for the production of ethanol from non-food feedstock.

Other recommendations include expediting regulatory clearances for ethanol distilleries through a single-window mechanism, unrestricted movement of denatured ethanol all over the country, tax incentives for blended fuel and petrol vehicles.

Roadmap for Ethanol Blending in India 2020-25