Question-2: What is Ethanol Blending? Examine the need for Ethanol blending programme in India.
Answer: Ethanol blending is a process in which ethanol biofuel is mixed with petrol and diesel in fixed proportion. Ethanol blending in India will be increased to 20% by the year 2025 after the union cabinet amended National Policy on Biofuels, 2018.
Biofuels are obtained through processing of organic matter. This is different from fossil fuel, which are derived from the slow geological process of fossilization,
Benefits of ethanol blending
- Saving foreign exchange
A 2021 report by Niti Aayog says that by blending 20% ethanol in fossil fuel, India can save Rs 30,000 crore every year in foreign exchange.
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Fossil fuels emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases during combustion. In comparison, ethanol does not have any carbon footprint.
- Energy security
India is over-dependent on petroleum exporting countries for energy needs. By promoting ethanol blending, India can be self reliant in terms of energy needs.
- Income and industrial growth
Biofuel production opens new avenues for development of industries, thus helping create jobs and generate revenues for farmers.
Concerns associated with blending
- If 20% blending is to be realized, modifications have to be made in design of automobile engine. This is likely to increase the cost.
- As ethanol blending increases, there will be more land diverted to grow water intensive crops such as sugarcanes.
Thus, India has a real opportunity to become a global leader in sustainable biofuels policy if it chooses to refocus on ethanol made from wastes.
Tags: GS 3 ( Growth and development)
By – Prashant Tiwari