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13th December 2022 (6 Topics)

SIAM organizes technical demonstration on “Ethanol Adoption – Flex Fuel Vehicles in India”

Context

Recently, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) has organised a technology demonstration on ‘Ethanol Adoption-Flex Fuel Vehicles in India.

Details:

  • The event was done to demonstrate the readiness of automobile manufacturers for ethanol adoption.
  • The manufacturers will be deployed through multiple segments of FFVs, particularly in the four-wheeler and two-wheeler segments.
    • Flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) have an internal combustion engine and are capable of operating on gasoline and any blend of gasoline and ethanol up to 83%.
  • The Centre has mandated SIAM to promote ethanol as a transportation fuel, jointly with the Ministry of Heavy Industries (MHI).

India’s Ethanol Blending Programme:

  • The Centre had “launched pilot projects wherein 5 per cent ethanol-blended petrol was supplied to retail outlets”.
  • The success of field trials paved the way for the launching of the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme in 2003.
    • It aimed to popularise 5 percent ethanol-blended petrol in 9 States and 4 UTs.
    • Ethanol is blended through a separate pumping and BIO-metering mechanism.
  • Aim: Reducing the country’s dependence on crude oil imports, cutting carbon emissions and boosting farmers’ incomes.
  • Targets:
    • India had targeted 10 percent ethanol blending in petrol by the end of 2022 and 20 percent blending by 2030.
    • In December 2020, the government advanced its target of achieving 20% blending (E20) from 2030 to
    • Also, there is a target of 5 percent blending of biodiesel with diesel by 2030.
    • The Centre has also announced an additional duty of Rs.2 per litre on unblended fuels starting October to incentivize blending.

How have other countries fared?

  • Though the U.S., China, Canada and Brazil all have ethanol blending programmes, as a developing country, Brazil stands out.
  • It had legislated that the ethanol content in petrol should be in the 18-27.5% range, and it finally touched the 27% target in 2021.

NITI Aayog- ‘Roadmap for Ethanol Blending in India 2020-25’:

  • Raise pan-India ethanol production capacity from the current 700 to 1500 crore litres
  • Phased rollout of E10 fuel by April 2022
  • Phased rollout of E20 from April 2023, its availability by April 2025
  • The rollout of E20 material-compliant and E10 engine-tuned vehicles from April 2023
  • Production of E20-tuned engine vehicles from April 2025
  • Nationwide educational campaign
  • Encourage the use of water-sparing crops, such as maize, to produce ethanol
  • Promote technology for the production of ethanol from the non-food feedstock.

Significance of switching to cleaner fuels:

  • Achieving net zero emissions by 2070.
  • Spread awareness and impart education about ethanol-blended petrol and its benefits, compared to traditional fuel.
  • Building up a sustainable ecosystem to cater to all futuristic alternate fuel needs.
  • Reduction on energy imports, thus saving foreign exchange fund
  • Building strategic advantage of being Atmanirbhar.

Concerns:

  • National Policy on Biofuel: The food grains meant for the impoverished are being sold to distilleries at prices cheaper than what states pay for their public distribution networks.
    • India ranked 107 out of 121 countries on the Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2022.
  • Efficiency: Fossil Fuels produce more energy than some biofuels. E.g., 1 gallon of ethanol produces less energy as compared to 1 gallon of gasoline (a fossil fuel).
  • Cost: Production of biofuels requires land; this impacts the cost of biofuels as well as that of food crops.
  • Water use: massive quantities of water are required for proper irrigation of biofuel crops as well as to manufacture the fuel, which could strain local and regional water resources.

Initiatives regarding Biofuels

  • Ethanol Blending Programme
  • The National Policy on Biofuels–2018
  • E-100 Pilot Project
  • Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN Yojana, 2019
  • Repurpose Used Cooking Oil (RUCO)

Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM):

  • It is a not-for-profit apex national body representing all major vehicle and vehicular engine manufacturers in India.
  • It works towards facilitating the enhancement of the competitiveness of the Indian Automobile Industry, reducing the cost of vehicles, increasing productivity and achieving global standards of quality.

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