- March 30, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Section: Sustainable Development
Context- India has achieved 9.45 percent of ethanol blending with petrol and is likely to achieve 10 percent blending by end of this year. It has targeted 20 percent blending by 2025.
- Ethanol is an agro-based product, mainly produced from a by-product of the sugar industry, namely molasses.
- It is one of the principal biofuels, which is naturally produced by the fermentation of sugars by yeasts or via petrochemical processes such as ethylene hydration.
- Ethanol is considered a renewable source of energy.
- It is derived either from feedstocks such as sugarcane juice or molasses, considered first-generation sources, or through the non-starch-based fibrous part of plant materials (lignocellulosic parts) which include paddy straws, bagasse, forest residues, and others.
- Ethanol is used for blending with petrol due to its characteristics which lead to benefits such as an increase in engine efficiency, better fuel quality due to its higher octane number.
- Due to its complete combustion quality, ethanol leads to lesser emissions of carbon monoxide, and other particulate matter (PM).
Generations of biofuels
- First generation biofuels – First-generation biofuels are made from sugar, starch, vegetable oil, or animal fats using conventional technology. Common first-generation biofuels include Bio-alcohols, Biodiesel, Vegetable oil, Bio-ethers, Biogas.
- Second generation biofuels – These are produced from non-food crops, such as cellulosic biofuels and waste biomass (stalks of wheat and corn, and wood). Examples include advanced biofuels like bio-hydrogen, bio-methanol.
- Third generation biofuels – These are produced from micro-organisms like algae.
- Four Generation Bio-fuels-It uses genetically modified (GM) algae to enhance biofuel production.
- The Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD) is the nodal department for the promotion of fuel grade ethanol producing distilleries in the country.
- The Government has allowed ethanol production/procurement from sugarcane-based raw materials viz. C & B heavy molasses, sugarcane juice sugar sugar syrup, surplus rice with Food Corporation of India (FCI) and maize.
Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme:
- The Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme was launched in 2003 with an aim to promote the use of renewable and environmentally friendly fuels and reduce India’s import dependence for energy security.
- Starting with 5% blending, the government has set a target of 10% ethanol blending by 2022 and 20% blending (E20) by 2030.
- The programme is implemented in accordance with the National Policy on Biofuels.
- Under this programme, oil marketing companies (OMCs) will procure ethanol from domestic sources at prices fixed by the government.
- Till 2018, only sugarcane was used to derive ethanol. Now, the government has extended the ambit of the scheme to include foodgrains like maize, bajra, fruit and vegetable waste, etc. to produce ethanol.
- This move helps farmers gain additional income by selling the extra produce and also broadens the base for ethanol production in the country.
- However, there are some challenges along the way. For instance, the dependency on feedstock for ethanol production would result in an additional burden on the farms and feedstock, and object to using first-generation sources for the production of ethanol for blending purposes.
Out of the total ethanol produced in the country, 91 percent came from sugarcane alone. According to NITI Aayog sugarcane and paddy (the feedstock source of ethanol) use 70 percent of India’s irrigation water leading to a lack of water availability for other crops.
India ranks 94 out of the 107 countries around the world in the Global Hunger Index 2020. With this background, questions are often raised about using feedstock and farmlands for energy crops instead of food.
Large-scale land diversion for this project would be in contravention of the other priorities of the Indian government such as food production, adoption to renewable sources of energy and water security of the country.
The shift of the government from second-generation sources, mostly agricultural waste and by-products, to the first generation, is not sustainable in the long term and is going away from the real objective of using biofuels.
Read More: https://optimizeias.com/ethanol-blending/