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Ethanol blending in petrol rises to 8.1% as part of India's clean energy push

Ethanol blending in petrol rises to 8.1% as part of India's clean energy push

Ethanol blending in petrol rises to 8.1% as part of India's clean energy push
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By CNBCTV18.com Jan 11, 2022 6:59:02 PM IST (Published)

The government's goal of 20 percent ethanol blended fuel by 2025 -- brought forward from 2030 by PM Modi -- has led to larger amounts of sugar being diverted into ethanol production.

Ethanol blending in petrol in the country reached 8.1 percent during the year 2020-21. The use of ethanol in fuel for cars has increased in the past few years. Ethanol blending was at 5 percent in the year 2019-2020 but has increased due to the government’s supportive policies. One of the main factors driving the increase is the fact that increasing amounts of sugar are being diverted into ethanol production.

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India is aiming to blend 20 percent of its fuel with ethanol by 2025 as part of its push for cleaner energy. It is estimated that 10 billion litres of ethanol will be required by 2025 to achieve 20 percent blending ratios, triple the current output of ethanol.
The blending levels are expected to reach 10 percent by the end of the year. While the shift to 20 percent blended fuel was supposed to happen by 2030, Prime Minister Narendra Modi advanced the timeline by five years.
Ethanol will be refined from sugar, along with residues of rice and wheat. Sugar is one of India’s main agricultural products. The government will divert nearly six million tonnes of sugar annually by 2025, said the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, an amount equivalent to India’s yearly sugar exports.
Pros and cons
The policy decision is expected to have multiple benefits -- reduced emissions leading to less air pollution, usage of domestic sugar, and reduced oil import expenditure. Ethanol has a high level of oxygen content, which allows an engine to combust fuel easily.
When mixed with fuel, it can reduce vehicular emissions. Blended fuel creates less carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxide than standard petrol or diesel, according to a NITI Aayog’s study.
However, it does reduce vehicular efficiency as OEMs will have to introduce certain changes in order to make up for the loss. At the same time, fuel may cost less as it’s made up of less crude oil, which is one of India’s costliest imports.
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