- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
- Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
Methanol-blending in petrol
What to study?
- For Prelims: What is methanol blending, how does it help protect the environment? Key facts on methanol and methanol blending programme.
- For Mains: Significance of Methanol blending, challenges present and ways to address them.
Context: A study, in which methanol (M-15) was blended with petrol and used in the existing BS-IV standard cars, found that the carbon dioxide emission had reduced substantially. The study, conducted by Pune-based Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), also found that hydrocarbon emission reduced marginally, with a slight increase in nitrogen oxides.
The objective of the study was to evaluate emissions in real-world conditions as well as check the performance of the vehicles. The agency used 15% M-15 blend in vehicles and tested them for 3,000km. In auto rickshaws, the performance was similar, except for a marginal reduction in nitrogen oxides.
Methanol as an alternative fuel:
Methanol is a promising fuel as it is clean, cheaper than fossil fuels and a good substitute for heavy fuels. India imports methanol from Saudi Arabia and Iran at present. Across the world, methanol is emerging as a clean, sustainable transportation fuel of the future.
- Methanol can be used as an energy producing fuel, transportation fuel and cooking fuel, cutting down India’s oil import bill by an estimated 20% over the next few years. Unlike CNG, using methanol as a transportation fuel would require minimal alteration in the vehicles.
- Methanol is a clean-burning fuel that produces fewer smog-causing emissions — such as sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter — and can improve air quality and related human health issues.
- Methanol is most commonly produced on a commercial scale from natural gas. It can also be produced from renewable sources such as biomass and recycled carbon dioxide.
- As a high-octane vehicle fuel, methanol offers excellent acceleration and power. It also improves vehicle efficiency.
Methanol as an enduring solution to human energy needs?
Methanol has the potential to be an enduring solution to human energy needs is because the belched out C02 (greenhouse gas emission) both from using Methanol and while producing Methanol can be tapped back to produce Methanol. Thereby a seamless loop of CO2 sequestration cycle is created to perpetually burn fuels without polluting the environment at all. C02 from steel plants, Thermal Power plants, Cement Plants etc. can be tapped in large quantities to produce Methanol.
The Concept of “Methanol Economy” is being actively pursued by China, Italy, Sweden, Israel, US, Australia, Japan and many other European countries. 10% of fuel in China in transport Sector is Methanol. Methanol Economy, if adopted by India can be one of the best ways to mitigate the Environmental hazards of a growing economy. NITI Aayog is preparing a road map for a full-scale implementation in the near future.
Sources: the hindu.