Ethanol Blending

What is Ethanol Blending?

  • The ethanol blending is process of mixing petrol with ethanol.
  • The mixture is called as Ethanol Fuel / Gasohol which is considered as a quasi-renewable energy.
  • Ethanol is biofuel derived from Sugarcane molasses (by-product in the conversion of sugarcane to sugar), corn, sorghum etc.
  • In India, practice of blending ethanol was started in 2001.
  • Ethanol blending for first time was mention in the Auto fuel policy of 2003.
  • Later, the National Policy on Bio-fuels, 2009 made mandatory for oil companies to sell petrol blended with at least 5% of ethanol.
 
Benefits of ethanol blending
  • It reduces the vehicular emissions especially carbon monoxide emissions.
  • It is cheaper than petrol as it is cheaper to manufacture.
  • It decreases a nation dependence on foreign oil.
  • Ethanol has a higher octane rating than ethanol-free petrol.
  • In case of India, ethanol production can give higher sugarcane price for farmers which can help in rural prosperity
 
Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme
Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme was launched by the Central Government in 2003 to promote the use of alternative and environment friendly fuels. It was intervention sought to reduce import dependency for energy requirements and environment friendly measure to reduce vehicular pollution. However, since 2006, OMCs were not able to meet required quantity of ethanol demand against the tenders floated by them. The various constraints for it were like State Specific issues, Supplier related issues including Pricing issues of ethanol. In order to augment the supply of ethanol, a new mechanism for pricing of ethanol was placed in where Government decided delivered price of ethanol at OMC depots. The decision has helped in significantly improving the supply of ethanol.
Recent Steps taken to promote Ethanol Blending:
  • The Union government increased price of ethanol by almost Rs.3 per litre to Rs.43.70 in an attempt to cut India’s oil import dependence as well as to give higher price for sugarcane.
  • India, which is more than 80% dependent on imports to meet its oil needs, has mandated blending of up to 10% ethanol in petrol, but inadequate availability has restricted this to below 4%.
  • Higher price for ethanol extracted in the process of making sugar from sugarcane will incentivise higher ethanol production.
  • Government has also announced financial package for Sugar Mills to enhance Ethanol Production infrastructure.
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