Ethanol blending Program – UPSC Prelims

Ethanol Blending:
  • Ethanol blending is the practice of blending petrol with ethanol.
  • Many countries, including India, have adopted ethanol blending in petrol in order to reduce vehicle exhaust emissions and also to reduce the import burden on account of crude petroleum from which petrol is produced.
  • The renewable ethanol content is expected to result in a net reduction in the emission of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrocarbons (HC).
  • Ethanol itself burns cleaner and burns more completely than petrol it is blended into.
  • In India, ethanol is mainly derived by sugarcane molasses, which is a by-product in the conversion of sugar cane juice to sugar.
Ethanol Blending Program:
  • Department of Food & Public Distribution has notified a modified scheme for extending financial assistance for producing 1st Generation (1G) ethanol.
  • The aim is to achieve blending targets of ethanol with petrol.
  • Target: The target is to achieve 20% blending of ethanol by 2025.
Ethanol Extraction from Food Grains:
  • In 2018, the Central Government extended the ambit of the EBP programme to extract the fuel from surplus quantities of food grains such as maize, jawar, bajra fruit and vegetable waste.
  • Earlier, only excess sugarcane production was allowed to be converted into ethanol for procurement under the programme.
Financial Assistance for Expansion of Ethanol Distillation Capacity: The government will provide interest subvention (on loans) to encourage the funding in this sector.
  • Aim:
    • To set up distilleries for producing 1st Generation (1G) ethanol from feed stocks such as cereals (rice, wheat, barley, corn & sorghum), sugarcane, sugar beet etc.
    • To convert molasses (a sugar by product) based distilleries to dual feedstock.
Expected Benefits:
  • Enhancing Farmers’ Income:
    • Facilitate farmers to diversify their crops to cultivate particularly maize/corn which needs less water compared to sugarcane and rice.
  • Provide Employment:
    • Investment in capacity addition or establishment of new distilleries shall provide new employment opportunities in rural areas.
  • Promote Distributed Ethanol Production:
    • Bringing new grain based distilleries in the entire country would result in distributed production of ethanol and would save a lot of transportation cost and thus prevent delays in meeting the blending target.