Fuel outlets have begun placing banners stating that the petrol they sell contains ethanol, which is a bio-fuel obtained primarily from sugarcane.
This blending is being done by the oil marketing companies in their terminals and is not something new and is being used the world-over.
The government has set a target of reaching 10% ethanol-blending by 2022 (10% of ethanol mixed with 90% of petrol) - and 20% by 2030.
India is 83% dependent on imports for meeting its oil needs. Doping petrol with ethanol will cut down the import requirement. Also, ethanol being less polluting fuel, it will cut down carbon emissions.
It is the organic compound Ethyl Alcohol which is produced from biomass. It is also an ingredient in alcoholic beverages.
It has a higher octane number than gasoline, hence improves the petrol octane number. Ethanol has insignificant amount of water in it.
Since ethanol contains oxygen, it is supposed to help in complete combustion of fuel, resulting in lower emissions.
Since ethanol is produced from plants that harness the power of the sun, ethanol is also considered as renewable fuel.
1G bioethanol plants utilise sugarcane juice and molasses, by-products in the production of sugar, as raw material, while 2G plants utilise surplus biomass and agricultural waste to produce bioethanol.
Shortage of biofuel
Many sugar mills which are best placed to produce bioethanol do not have the financial stability to invest in biofuel plants and there and there are also concerns among investors on the uncertainty o the price of bio-ethanol in the future.