Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Apr 19, 2022, 6:18

India has always relied heavily on external assistance to achieve energy security, resulting in a loss of foreign exchange reserves. So, taking a government initiative to ensure ample energy production within Indian territory has always been crucial. The initiative had to be environmentally sustainable to reduce the pollution rates as well.

Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme - Overview

For its easy availability and environmental friendliness, ethanol-blend petrol was the best option that the Indian government could choose. Ethanol is an agricultural product derivative that is widely available in India. This is supposed to be 99% pure. Blending ethanol with petrol can maximise energy security for India as it contains ethyl alcohol. As a result, the Indian government launched the Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme in 2003 to encourage people to use renewable and ecologically sustainable fuels.

The Indian government began the Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme by mandating a 5% ethanol blend in petrol. The government has set a greater goal of increasing ethanol blending by 10% by 2022 and 20% by 2030. The National Policy on Biofuels played an active part in shaping the revolutionary idea into an existing national programme.

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Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme - Benefits & Challenges

The beneficial aspects of the Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme are many. Being a plant-based fuel, ethanol can serve the energy production process as a renewable source of energy. This has also been proven that ethanol-blend petrol-mediated vehicles tend to produce a lesser amount of pollutant gases, reducing the carbon footprint of India.

The statistically proven data ensures a savings of almost 30,000 crore rupees by mixing 20% ethanol in petrol. The Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme not only satisfies the energy requirements but also contributes to the betterment of the agricultural sector of India. Since ethanol is a sugarcane derivative product, farmers can sell their leftover production to the manufacturers and earn money.

There are some challenges as well that the government has to deal with in the upcoming years. The objective is to achieve a 20% ethanol blend by 2030. But this objective requires expanding the ethanol production facilities that India currently severely lacks.

Besides that, as the ethanol is derived from sugarcane, the initiative has not been able to expand wings across the country. Only the sugar-producing states are capable of participating in this initiative. In addition, the ethanol production rate is much lower than required, as sugar mills can only meet 57.6 percent of total demand.

It can be concluded that the Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme has the potential to achieve a holistic approach in uplifting the country's economy. Currently, different food grains including maize, bajra, fruit, and vegetable waste are also used to produce ethanol.

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FAQs on Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme

Q.1. Why was the Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme introduced in India?

India has always been hugely dependent on foreign support to ensure energy security, which causes the depletion of foreign exchange. So, the Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme was introduced by the Government of India in 2003 to encourage people to opt for renewable and environmentally friendly fuels.

Q.2. How much ethanol has been asked to blend with petrol in the Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme?

The government of India started the Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme by taking the initiative of a 5% blending of ethanol into petrol. The target has been set higher and the government has made the decision to increase the ethanol blending by 10% by the year 2022 and by 20% by the year 2030.

Q.3. How is the ethanol collected under the ambit of the Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme?

The government of India employs oil marketing companies that collect the ethanol-producing domestic resources and convert them into ethanol at government-issued prices.

Q.4. What are the objectives of the Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme?

The objectives of the Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme are multi-dimensional. This programme aims to eradicate pollution by promoting the use of renewable and environmentally friendly fuels. Ethanol is majorly produced by sugarcane. So, the objective was to promote the sugar industry by increasing the demand for sugarcane that is capable of producing ethanol. Sugarcane farmers' welfare was also a goal of this initiative.