The Union Cabinet has approved amendments to the National Policy on Biofuels, 2018, to advance the date by which fuel companies have to increase the percentage of ethanol in petrol to 20%, from 2030 to 2025.
GS-III: Environment and Ecology
Dimensions of the Article:
- National Policy on Biofuels
- What is Ethanol fuel?
- Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme (EBP)
- Roadmap for Ethanol Blending in India by 2025
- Advantages of Ethanol Blending
National Policy on Biofuels
- In order to promote biofuels in the country, first National Policy on Biofuels was made by Ministry of New and Renewable Energy during the year 2009.
- National Policy on Biofuels -2018 builds on the achievements of the earlier National Policy on Biofuels setting new agenda consistent with the redefined role of emerging developments in the renewable sector aiming to bring in renewed focus taking into context the international perspectives and National scenario.
- The policy envisages an indicative target of 20% blending of ethanol in petrol and 5% blending of bio-diesel in diesel by 2030.
- The Policy categorises biofuels as “Basic Biofuels” viz. First Generation (1G) bioethanol & biodiesel and “Advanced Biofuels” – Second Generation (2G) ethanol, Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to drop-in fuels, Third Generation (3G) biofuels, bio-CNG etc. to enable extension of appropriate financial and fiscal incentives under each category.
- The Policy expands the scope of raw material for ethanol production by allowing use of Sugarcane Juice, Sugar containing materials like Sugar Beet, Sweet Sorghum, Starch containing materials like Corn, Cassava, Damaged food grains like wheat, broken rice, Rotten Potatoes, unfit for human consumption for ethanol production.
- The Policy allows use of surplus food grains for production of ethanol for blending with petrol with the approval of National Biofuel Coordination Committee – so that farmers get appropriate price for their produce during the surplus production phase.
- The Policy encourages setting up of supply chain mechanisms for biodiesel production from non-edible oilseeds, Used Cooking Oil, short gestation crops.
The following are the main amendments approved to the National Policy on Biofuels:
- to allow more feedstocks for production of biofuels,
- to advance the ethanol blending target of 20% blending of ethanol in petrol to ESY 2025-26 from 2030,
- to promote the production of biofuels in the country, under the Make in India program, by units located in Special Economic Zones (SEZ)/ Export Oriented Units (EoUs),
- to add new members to the NBCC.
- to grant permission for export of biofuels in specific cases, and
- to delete/amend certain phrases in the Policy in line with decisions taken during the meetings of National Biofuel Coordination Committee.
What is the present status of ethanol blending in India?
- India achieved 9.45% ethanol blending as on March 13, 2022, according to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
- The Centre projects that this will reach 10% by the end of financial year 2022.
- The government first announced its plans of advancing the 20% blending target in December 2020.
What is Ethanol fuel?
- Ethanol fuel is ethyl alcohol, the same type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, used as fuel.
- It is most often used as a motor fuel, mainly as a biofuel additive for gasoline.
- Ethanol is commonly made from biomass such as corn or sugarcane.
- Bioethanol is a form of renewable energy that can be produced from agricultural feedstocks.
- It can be made from very common crops such as hemp, sugarcane, potato, cassava and corn.
- There has been considerable debate about how useful bioethanol is in replacing gasoline.
- Concerns about its production and use relate to increased food prices due to the large amount of arable land required for crops, as well as the energy and pollution balance of the whole cycle of ethanol production, especially from corn.
Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme (EBP)
- Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) programme was launched in 2003- and this initiative is pursued aggressively in the last 4 to 5 years to reduce import dependence of crude oil as well as mitigate environmental pollution.
- The Ethanol Blending Programme (EBP) seeks to achieve blending of Ethanol with motor sprit with a view to reducing pollution, conserve foreign exchange and increase value addition in the sugar industry enabling them to clear cane price arrears of farmers.
- Although the Government of India decided to launch EBP programme in 2003 for supply of 5% ethanol blended Petrol, it later scaled up blending targets from 5% to 10% under the Ethanol Blending Programme (EBP).
- The Government of India has also advanced the target for 20% ethanol blending in petrol (also called E20) to 2025 from 2030.
- Currently, 8.5% of ethanol is blended with petrol in India.
Roadmap for Ethanol Blending in India by 2025
- The central government has released an expert committee report on the Roadmap for Ethanol Blending in India by 2025 that proposes a gradual rollout of ethanol-blended fuel to achieve E10 fuel supply by April 2022 and phased rollout of E20 from April 2023 to April 2025.
- The Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas (MoP&NG) had instituted an Expert Group to study the issues such as pricing of ethanol, matching pace of the automobile industry to manufacture vehicles with new engines with the supply of ethanol, pricing of such vehicles, fuel efficiency of different engines etc.
Advantages of Ethanol Blending
- Use of ethanol-blended petrol decreases emissions such as carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC) and nitrogen oxides (NOx).
- The unregulated carbonyl emissions, such as acetaldehyde emission were, however, higher with E10 and E20 compared to normal petrol. However, these emissions were relatively lower.
- Increased use of ethanol can help reduce the oil import bill. India’s net import cost stands at USD 551 billion in 2020-21. The E20 program can save the country USD 4 billion (Rs 30,000 crore) per annum.
- The oil companies procure ethanol from farmers that benefits the sugarcane farmers.
- Further, the government plans to encourage use of water-saving crops, such as maize, to produce ethanol, and production of ethanol from non-food feedstock.
-Source: The Hindu, PIB