Sugar mill may have Ethanol Filling Stations across the India
Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road, Transport and Highways (MoRTH), has been stressing the adoption of alternative fuel technology for quite some time. The minister recently spoke about his plans to make flex engines that can run on more than one fuel mandatory in India, and now, he has asked sugar processing companies to set up ethanol dispensing stations across the country. MoRTH is trying to ensure timely availability of the fuel as Gadkari is trying to go ahead with the plan of mandating flex-fuel engines for vehicles in India.
Gadkari also said MoRTH will file an affidavit to the Supreme Court seeking relaxation on emission norms as vehicles with higher quantity of ethanol blend with petrol will not be able to comply with the current BS6 norms. Blending ethanol with petrol is a prevalent practice in Brazil and also in parts of the US. For India, which imports over 85 per cent of its crude requirement, it is an effective way of reducing the import bill. Procurement of ethanol by oil companies for blending has grown from just 38 crore litres in FY14 to an estimated 173 crore litres in FY20, which is an increase of 85 per cent. The blending rate has increased from 1.53 per cent to over 5 per cent. Ethanol production capacity in the country has shot up to over 400 crore litres.
Recently, the government also advanced the timeline for achieving 20 per cent blending to 2025 from 2030 and the aim of achieving 10 per cent blending is likely to be met by April 2022. And so, the phased rollout of E20 fuel will begin from April 2023 as MoRTH is planning to mandated flex engines from then. All new vehicles from then will be mandated to be compliant with it and standards for E12 and E15 fuels have already been set.