Addressing the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) conference on Tuesday, Minister of Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari said that the government is pushing ethanol as a clean fuel to generate additional income that can reach farmers directly.
The Minister shared that the government has launched the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) programme to extract fuel from surplus food grains such as maize, jowar, bajra, fruit and vegetable waste. The government has also unveiled the E20 Fuel programme to increase ethanol production capacity. India's estimated ethanol requirement is 10 billion litres by 2025.
The government, meanwhile, plans to use bioethanol by blending 20 percent of ethanol with gasoline. The current permissible blending level stands at 10 percent of ethanol. Incidentally, India had reached only 5.6 percent blending in 2019.
Gadkari also added that the government will roll out bioethanol regulations soon. Presently, Brazil has the world's highest ethanol consumption at 47 percent, and India can adopt the Brazilian model, he said.
Further, the government plans on increasing ethanol use in the transportation sector. Gadkari said the target is to grow the ethanol economy from Rs 20,000 crore to Rs 2 lakh crore. "With more efficient use of ethanol blend, India will save Rs 30,000 crore in importing fossil fuels and reduce emissions of carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide by 40 per cent," he noted.
He also highlighted the need to study how diesel can be blended with ethanol. Some of the IITs are already involved in doing the research, Gadkari said. The government also wants sugar mills to establish their own ethanol pumps.
"Bioethanol can also be a sustainable fuel for aviation purposes. It can provide 80 percent savings on greenhouse gas emissions, and can be blended up to 50 percent of conventional jet fuels without any modification. The Sugar Mills Association should work in providing aviation fuel for our forces," the Minister added.
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