November 19, 2021

Ethanol Production | An alternative to petroleum fuel

 A few days ago, many things were put forward to promote ethanol production at the national level and huge goals were set up. It has been said that here India is going to grow a lot in the coming few years, but a country like this has benefited from gaining so much weight. And in actuality, the solution to this problem will come out as near or not, let us see about it.

Ethanol from waste sugarcane | Clean energy | Power generation from Ethanol

Ethanol is such a chemical that comes with multiple uses, the best thing about this is that it can be made with many simple methods. India becomes a specific example here where our only solution for multiple problems comes in the form of ethanol used. And now we will understand how the whole thing will work the problem inside it, and where we stand at the current level in ethanol generation.


Firstly discussing the biggest benefit due to ethanol production is the country's foreign resources will be saved on a vast scale. Now India is the third-largest oil importer in the world. Crude oil is very expensive because we have to buy it from the international market, so we have foreign reserves which are kept in dollars using them, someone has to buy them, which can be invested in any other place of the foreign reserve. Be it for other projects or for foreign investment, this will be our own international Expansion. But because all our money is going towards buying oil, due to this, somewhere India needs to reduce its oil dependency so that less money will be spent on it.

But how does Ethanol come out as a solution?

In this situation, ethanol comes out as a solution. Ethanol can be mixed with petrol, which is known as Blended Ethanol, and some part of it can be used as petrol and in later years can be replaced instead ethanol. Although there are different ratios, where the concentration of petrol and ethanol is changed it depends on how much ethanol we have. And at the same time more important is whether the vehicles we drive today will support more ethanol or not. 

Now here’s what the government is deciding by 2023, the petrol we buy today must have 10 to 20% of ethanol in it and the remaining must be petrol. If it is successful, then the 20% of the overall petrol that we import will be reduced which cannot be translated into a smaller amount and the country will have profited a lot.

Need for Flex Engine

Now let's talk about the particular problem, After blending more and more ethanol. Flex engines may be required if an engine is to be worked properly then there is a need for a flex engine. Our ministries have made a lot of requests over the years to several car manufacturers to use flex engines. But the way it happened during Bharat Stage 4 and 5, the same thing is still happening now and manufacturers are not bringing these engines into the market by making various excuses, these engines are not being launched in the market to save their money. 

But now the government has given a clear indication, that very strict action will be taken, and if the flex engine is not made, then the company will face big problems and due to this flex engines will gradually begin to see in the market. And the 10 to 20% target has been kept for ethanol blending, it can increase further, which will lead to more savings.

Less pollution

Second, let's talk about the benefits of ethanol. There is less pollution when ethanol is mixed with petrol and when it is used, then the final output of smoke is much cleaner than the carbon monoxide that can be emitted, carbon dioxide, and other greenhouse gases due to which there is less air pollution, which is obviously a good thing.

Y'all must be thinking if ethanol implies such a good thing then why is it not applied on a wide scale?

The answer is production. We are not able to produce as much ethanol as we need. So for this, major policies work so that the production of ethanol can increase and this leads us to the third point.

Other solutions

Where there will be all other benefits due to the production of ethanol. Many different resources can be used to make ethanol. Basically many raw materials can be used to make it and here sugar cane excess grains etc are made unfit for human consumption, agriculture wastes things that are leftover from farming. Ethanol can be made using these simple things.

Production of Ethanol |  Process of Ethanol making

One more question will also pop up in your mind, if the edible food, is converted into ethanol then will the country not suffer?

But let me make one thing clear to you: how all the grains like this are agricultural waste areas grains that are never out for consumption. Sugarcane becomes a very important example of this, Sugarcane produced more than what is required in the country. In fact, Every year lakhs and crores of Sugarcanes are thrown away just because it is overproduced is done and if it is sold in the market, then the rate in the market for the rest of the producers also falls down. Because the difference between demand and supply will be reversed and if the supply is worse than the demand, then the rate will fall so much that it will not be able to cover expensively in its production cost, so it saves millions and millions of tonnes of sugarcanes where it can b used for making of ethanol.

Which agricultural crops are used in making Ethanol?

If we talk about grains like Maize, Barley, and Jawahar. If we talk about grains like these, then there is some part in them, which do not fit our human consumption. So it is thrown out either, later it is used as fertilizers or some other sources, but if we use these trash parts of agricultural waste then we can even make more enhanced ethanol later it will be more beneficial. At the same time when agriculture is done, it is harvested, whatever remains after the harvesting like agricultural waste, like dry grass. It is usually burnt or cut and it is always garbage. Using these ingredients ethanol can be produced.

If the production of ethanol is pushed, then all these grains and whatever agricultural items are used can be utilized. Farmers will get money in return for these and industries that want to produce more and more ethanol in the future will get the quality raw material from different sources.

Generation of New Sector

Further, talking about a big benefit that we will get by changing the ethanol production, that is a generation of a whole sector within the country. Till today, not much ethanol is manufactured in our country. But if it gets a further push, in the future there will be a huge scale per employment, development of technology, we can also go for export, many such benefits the country will get. Due to this, it is crucial to focus on the production of ethanol.

Now let's talk about how this can be implemented in the coming time. A few days ago our Honorable Prime Minister announced a new policy, how will it be implemented. Currently like we said that we need more ethanol, and we have to increase the production rate. So before the initial year 2023, a target has been set to mix 20% ethanol in the amount of petrol sold in today's country, and on this, the government is very strict.

Oil PSU's Investing in Ethanol Production

7500 crores of investment have been made to build new-level refineries. We’ll be able to produce a total of 150 crore liters of ethanol yearly from 11 different types of grains. Apart from this, 8000 crore rupees from our oil PSUs like Indian Oil, HP, and Bharat Petroleum companies are rising up and working so that they can build second-generation ethanol production refineries for themselves. Along with its current plans, half of the third-generation ethanol production is also under construction in Haryana, which Indian Oil is making. So this will work for making ethanol.

Now let's talk about what steps India will have to take next. So let's talk about the supply chain, which is our oil PSU, the farmer, the new refinery, and all the units of the government, they will need to coordinate a lot among themselves. For this, some tasks have been done under which things will reach from the farmers' farm to the refineries to the petrol pump again. Research has also been done on the supply chain to be built in some of them, and it will be implemented soon. 

And a pilot project has been started in the name of  eve100, which has been started in Pune. By which the government will try to convert petrol completely into ethanol. And on top of this how the engines will be made and how the whole supply chain how runs it is also going down and if everything goes right then by the year 2025 we can get to see all such things and also we’ll get to see vehicles which will be running on only ethanol whose production can be done with things as discussed earlier.

Where does India stand toward the Production of Ethanol?

If we talk about the situation that India stands in the matter of ethanol, then today there are 5500 such petrol pumps inside the country where ethanol has already been mixed inside the petrol available, but not all the people are aware of it.

So in conclusion, the foreign resources of the country can be saved, the pollution can be reduced, and the sake of the farm and the excess grains can be utilized. Cleaner alternatives should be available to our country and the generation of new sectors, which will lead to employment, jobs, and development in technology.

Keeping these things in view, India may be pushing ethanol so fast. Let's see whether this plan will be successful or not. And India, which currently needs a lot of reforms, in their transportation sector, whether due to this will it be fully transformed or not.

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  1. Excellent! But upcoming future is battery my frnd.

    1. Yes, EV’s are indeed the future and great alternative for fuel-based vehicles and Tata’s Nexon EV has proved it. But the batteries on which EVs run are still under the developing stage and many other factors, I hope we may reach the top as early as possible.

      People have not started using EVs broadly as fueled-based vehicles are in use. As of now a solution for petrol-based vehicles is having ethanol within petrol in some percent which can make our environment pollution-free and also many other advantages of using ethanol as an alternative.

      Thank you for embedding your thoughts in the comments!


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