In order to ensure energy security of the country and reduce import dependence i.e. usage of fossil fuels by 10% from levels in 2014-15 by the year 2022, the government has treaded the path of Ethanol blending in auto fuel. For the same, there has to be adopted a 5-pronged strategy:
• Increasing Domestic Production
• Adopting Biofuels & Renewable
• Energy Efficiency Norms,
• Improvement in Refinery Processe
• Demand Substitution.
Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme:
This programme was first kicked off in January 2003 for promoting the use of alternative as well as environment friendly fuels that work on to reduce import dependence for energy needs.
Now slowly and gradually this programme was implemented across the country wherein the government asked all OMCs in the country to sell 10% ethanol blended petrol. This was implemented with effect from April 1, 2019.
What is Ethanol Blended Petrol?
Ethanol blended petrol is targeted at reducing the vehicular emissions as the ethanol is a biofuel and is rich in oxygen content which helps in the thorough combustion of fuel. In contrast, petrol is produced through the slow process of fossilization and hence is also referred as fossil fuel. Also, as this ethanol which we get from the fermentation process of sugarcane is plant based, it is a renewable fuel source.
What is the recent advancement of the EBP programme?
On June 5, the Narendra Modi led government advanced the programme of 20% ethanol blended petrol by 5 years to 2025 from the earlier 2030. "But seeing the kind of strides that the country has made in the past seven years, we have decided to reduce the timeline by five years,'' Modi said at the launch of a pilot project for dispensing ethanol from three petrol stations in Pune.
So far, ethanol was being produced in sugar growing states, but now it will be produced across the country with the setting up of foodgrain waste distilleries and agricultural waste ethanol plants, he said.
How EBP is a boon for sugar companies in India?
The push for ethanol production shall be good for both sugar companies as well as oil companies. As per the statement of consumer affairs, food and public distribution ministry, the 5 lakh employees in the sector together with 5 crore sugarcane farmers will benefit from the government's ambitious advancement of 20% Ethanol blended petrol by 2025.
"Sugarcane farmers will get timely payment of sugarcane dues as the realization from sale of ethanol is much faster than sale of sugar," the statement said, adding that "It may be noted that India is facing a situation of plenty with surplus sugar, leading to liquidity problem to sugar mills and delayed payments of cane dues. The Government is encouraging sugar mills to divert excess sugarcane to ethanol which is blended with petrol."
How will EBP be lucrative for India as a whole?
The country's distillation of ethanol will double by 2025 as well as the EBP will help the country save on foreign exchange of over Rs. 30000 crore.