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India mulls E20 fuel to cut vehicular emissions

Topics Covered: Conservation

India mulls E20 fuel to cut vehicular emissions:


Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has published a draft notification and invited comments from the public for adoption of E20 fuel as an automobile fuel.

  • E20 fuel is a blend of 20% of ethanol and gasoline.

Present status:

The current permissible level of blending is 10% of ethanol though India reached only 5.6% of blending in 2019.

Benefits of E20 fuel in particular and ethanol blending in general:

  1. To reduce vehicular emissions.
  2. To reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons, etc.
  3. To reduce the oil import bill, thereby saving foreign exchange and boosting energy security.

Challenges ahead:

Compatibility of vehicles with the percentage of ethanol in the blend would have to be defined by the vehicle manufacturer.

What is ethanol?

Ethanol is a biofuel and a common by-product of biomass left by agricultural feedstock such as corn, sugarcane, hemp, potato, etc.

What has the Government done and is doing in this regard?

  1. National Biofuel Coordination Committee (NBCC) has allowed Surplus rice available with the FCI to be converted to ethanol for utilization in making alcohol-based hand-sanitizers and for blending in petrol.
  2. The Government of India launched the EBP programme in 2003 for undertaking the blending of ethanol in petrol to address the environmental concerns due to fossil fuel burning, provide remuneration to farmers, subsidize crude imports and achieve forex savings.
  3. The National Policy on Biofuels, 2018 envisages that during an agriculture crop year when there is projected over supply of food grains as anticipated by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, the policy will allow conversion of these surplus quantities of food grains to ethanol, based on the approval NBCC.


Prelims Link:

  1. What is ethanol? How is it produced?
  2. Difference between ethanol and molasses?
  3. What is ethanol blending programme?
  4. Benefits of ethanol blending?

Mains Link:

Write a note on the 2013 EBP programme.

Sources: the Hindu.