Modi govt’s ethanol blending plan aims to get Rs 41,000 cr investment, lower oil import bill
When ethanol — which is made from molasses, grains, etc — is mixed into petrol, it results in a fuel that is believed to be as efficient but less harmful to the environment.
by SAMYAK PANDEY
New Delhi: The central government is expecting investments of up to Rs 41,000 crore to help India achieve its ethanol blending target of 10 per cent by 2022 and 20 per cent by 2025.
This investment is likely to arrive as capacity addition for ethanol-producing distilleries in addition to building new ones, Union Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey said Tuesday as he addressed a press conference regarding the progress of the government’s Ethanol Blending Programme (EBP), and the road map for it.
When ethanol — which is made from molasses, grains, etc — is mixed into petrol, it results in a fuel that is believed to be as efficient but less deleterious to the environment.
Ethanol blending in petrol is a critical part of the Modi government’s plans to cut India’s oil import bill and shrink its carbon footprint in pursuit of its battle against climate change.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi advanced India’s targeted transition to 20 per cent ethanol blending by five years, to 2025 from 2030, with an aim to begin the rollout of this fuel — “E20” — by 2023.
At the press conference, Pandey detailed the government’s plans to set aside surplus food products like sugarcane towards the goal of increasing ethanol production, while also highlighting how it will usher in new employment opportunities, primarily in rural areas, besides strengthening the agricultural economy.
“EBP will a bring positive impact on the country’s economy, along with promoting ethanol as an indigenous non-polluting and virtually inexhaustible fuel. This reduces carbon monoxide emission by 30-50 per cent and hydrocarbon by 20 per cent,” he said.
“The production of fuel-grade ethanol and its supply to oil companies has increased by 5 times from 2013-14 to 2018-19. In 2018-19, ethanol production touched 189 crore litres, thereby achieving 5 per cent blending. The ethanol supply in the current year 2020-21 is more than 300 crore litres, contributing 8-8.5 per cent blending levels. We would be achieving a 10 per cent blending target by 2022,” he added.
So far, India has drawn EBP-related investment to the tune of Rs 7,000 crore, he said, adding that India has plans to boost ethanol production by 1,600 crore litres in the coming times.