Prime minister of India Narendra Modi during the opening ceremony of IEW (India energy week) at Bengaluru on the 6th of Feb take initiative for Indian oil and launched E20 fuel in 11 cities.
What is E20 fuel
It is a type of biofuel that is formed by the blending of 20% of ethanol to the gasoline. Number 20 in E20 refers to the percentage of ethanol in the gasoline blend. E20 or flex fuel reduce the carbon dioxide(CO2), carbon monoxide(CO), hydrocarbons(HC) and Nitrous oxides(NOx) emission and an excellent way to reduce pollution. Due to this,global warming decreases and the effect on climate due to green house gases decreases which will lead to proper cultivation of crops. Loss of crops due to climate changes reduces and crops grows very well which will be very good for farmers.
Emission reduction potential of ethanol-gasoline blends
|Emissions||Gasoline||Two Wheelers (E10)||Two Wheelers (E20)||Four Wheelers (E10)||Four Wheelers (E20)|
|Carbon monoxide||Baseline||20% lower||50% lower||20% lower||30% lower|
|Hydrocarbons||Baseline||20% lower||20% lower||20% lower||20% lower|
|Oxides of nitrogen||Baseline||No significant trend||10% higher||No significant trend||same|
Ethanol is naturally produced by the fermentation of sugars by yeasts or by petrochemical processes like ethylene hydration, ethanol is high in oxygen content. It is primarily produced from crops such sugarcane, this will help in the growth of the sugarcane industries, provide employment to many farmers and also the income of farmers increases. Last year, oil companies procured ethanol worth about Rs 21,000 crore , hence it is benefitting the sugarcane farmers. Also, government plans to encourage use of water sparing crops, such as maize, to produce ethanol, and production of ethanol from non-food feedstock. India already produces significant quantity of these crops, so it allows automobiles to use a higher production of ethanol. Current permissible level of blending is 10% of ethanol and India reached only 5.6% of blending in 2019.
Encouraging use of water saving crops to produce ethanol
It is very important to produce ethanol through less water consumption. It is concluded that sugarcane continues to be the most lucrative food crop for ethanol even though it has the highest water consumption per acre. Amongst grains, maize is the least water intensive crop that can be used for ethanol production. The production of ethanol from maize and such other low water consulting feedstock may be encouraged.
Advantages of E20 fuel
- Biofuel is gaining popularity because it has the potential to significantly reduce pollution if used on a large scale.
- Imports require approximate 85% of fuel in India, using E20 would result in significant cost savings for the country.
- New jobs will be created in the original equipment manufacturing (OEM), component supplier, and aftermarket service provider sectors.
- Indian government believes achieving its 20% ethanol in gasoline target will benefit the country’s agricultural industry. The government claims that these measures will increase farmer income.
- 1 litre of ethanol contains approximately two third of the energy provided by a litre of petrol
Current fuel ethanol price comparison with other countries
|country||Price in USD per litre(as on 22.02.2021)|
|India||Sugarcane juice/syrup-0.865 B-molasses- 0.795 C-molasses- 0.630 Damaged food grains-0.712 Surplus rice with FCI- 0.785|
The prices of ethanol produced in India are higher in comparison to other countries, since the cost of raw materials like sugarcane and food grains are fixed by the government to support the farming community.
Disadvantages of E20 fuel
- Farmers who have been traditionally farming sugarcanes can be benefitted from this fuel. But its hard to believe that a large scale of farmers will opt for sugarcane farming, which is the main ingredient for ethanol production.
- For India, sugarcane is the cheapest source of ethanol. A litre of ethanol from sugar requires 2,860 litres of water
- Ethanol derived from sugarcane, corn could undermine food security in the world’s second most populous country. India still ranks 101st on the global hunger index 2022 comprising 116 nations. Climate change-induced heatwaves are a worrying factor and can lead to lower-than-expected harvests.
- Need to bring 30,000 additional sq km of land to come under maize cultivation. However half of that land can be used more efficiently from solar energy.
Author– Nidhi jha [B.sc(Hons.) Agriculture]
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