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Flex Fuel Technology

Focus: GS III: Environment and Ecology

Why in News?

Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Launched Toyota’s first of its kind pilot project on Flexi-Fuel Strong Hybrid Electric Vehicles (FFV-SHEV) in India which would run on 100% petrol as well as 20 to 100% blended ethanol and electric power. 

Flex fuel technology

  • A flex fuel, or flexible fuel, vehicle has an internal combustion engine (ICE), but unlike a regular petrol or diesel vehicle, this can run on more than one type of fuel, or even a mixture of fuels. 
  • The most common versions use a blend of petrol and ethanol or methanol, but these engines are also equipped to run on 100 percent petrol or ethanol as well. 
  • This is made possible by equipping the engine with a fuel mix sensor and an engine control module (ECM) programming that senses and automatically adjusts for any ratio of designated fuels. 
Advantages: 
  • When ethanol is used in blending, dangerous emissions like carbon monoxide, sulphur, and carbon and nitrogen oxides are significantly reduced.
  • Blending will reduce the amount of oil that must be imported to refuel cars.
  • Countries like Brazil have the flexibility to change the mix’s intensity in response to changes in crude oil prices and rising energy costs.
  • The prerequisite being that the fleet of vehicles has been given the necessary equipment to adapt to this fuel mix to varied degrees.
Disadvantages: 
  • A flex fuel car typically takes a small hit on fuel efficiency when using ethanol for motive power, ranging from between 4 percent and 8 percent. 
  • • Crops like sugarcane are frequently very water-intensive.
    • According to an NITI Aayog report, sugarcane alone accounted for over 90% of the nation’s ethanol production in 2019–20.

 

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