PM at India Energy Week launch: Ethanol blending allowed up to 20% in petrol

Domestically produced ethanol has been identified as an opportunity to reduce oil imports, in an effort to achieve energy independence

By Seema Prasad
Published: Monday 06 February 2023
PM Narendra Modi speaking at the launch of the India Energy Week. Photo: @narendramodi / Twitter

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched petrol blended with 20 per cent ethanol (ethyl alcohol), also called ‘E20’, at the India Energy Week February 6, 2023. This is touted to be a landmark green initiative to help the country reduce carbon emissions.

Ethanol is a biofuel naturally produced by the fermentation of sugar extracted from sugarcane and agricultural waste such as bagasse and paddy straw. Ethanol, when blended with petrol, will reduce fossil fuel consumption and bring down the country’s import bills.

The government is supporting advanced biofuel projects through the Pradhan Mantri Jivan Yojana with financial assistance of approximately Rs 25,000 crore.

Domestically produced ethanol has been identified as an opportunity to reduce oil imports, in an effort to achieve energy independence.

The following estimates were made by a presentation at the event:

  • Ethanol blending will be lead to Forex savings in the country by Rs 55,000 crore per annum
  • Ethanol blending will increase the farmer’s cumulative income by Rs 45,000 crore per annum
  • Oil marketing companies (OMCs) are in the process of setting up 2G-3G ethanol plants with a total investment of Rs 8,000 crore per annum.

According to the Niti Aayog report titled Roadmap for Ethanol Blending in India-2020-25 prepared by an expert committee, the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas intended to introduce ethanol blended petrol in phases. The initial plan was to make E20 available by 2030, after introducing it in phases from April 2025 onwards. 

Now, the target is to scale it country-wide by 2025 onwards, after introducing it at 84 retail outlets of OMCs in 11 states and Union territories this year.

Rahul Jain, deputy Programme Manager of the Renewable Energy Division at Centre for Science and Environment told Down to Earth:

Automobile manufacturers are aware of the ethanol blending programme and are rolling out new flex fuel engines that accommodate an ethanol blend of up to 40 per cent-50 per cent. Manufacturers like Hero and Honda are preparing themselves for this. By the end of the year, newly manufactured two wheelers will be recalibrated. 

India plans to set up an International Biofuel Alliance through the G20 Presidency this year.

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