While addressing the nation from the Red Fort on India’s 76th Independence Day, PM Modi announced that India had met its target of blending 10% sugarcane-extracted ethanol in petrol ahead of schedule. Because India is one of the world’s largest oil importers, the PM advocated for energy independence, stressing that India must be Aatmanirbhar in the energy sector.
About ‘Ethanol’ –
- Ethanol is an agricultural by-product which is mainly obtained from the processing of sugar from sugarcane, but also from other sources such as rice husk or maize.
- Since ethanol is produced from plants that harness the power of the sun, it is also considered as renewable fuel.
- In India, ethanol is mainly produced from sugarcane molasses by fermentation process.
- Ethanol blending is the process of combining ethanol and petrol to use less fossil fuel while driving a vehicle.
- To supplement ethanol supplies, the Government of India has permitted the procurement of ethanol produced from sources other than molasses, which is known as first generation ethanol or 1G.
- Aside from molasses, ethanol can be derived from rice straw, wheat straw, maize cobs, corn stover, bagasse, bamboo and woody biomass, which are known as second generation ethanol sources or 2G.
About the ‘Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme’ –
- The EBP programme was launched by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas in 2003, to promote the use of alternative and environment friendly fuels.
- Under this programme, starting with 5% blending, the government later increased the target of 10% ethanol blending by 2022.
- India’s goal is to grow this ratio to 20% by 2030, but when the NITI Aayog released the ethanol roadmap in 2021, that deadline was advanced to 2025.