Government think-tank Niti Aayog has prepared a draft cabinet note to enable 3 per cent blending of methanol with petrol with a view to reduce dependence on imported fuel. “A Niti Aayog expert committee has prepared a draft cabinet note on methanol blending of petrol and is going to send it to the Transport Ministry for their comments. The Aayog has suggested 3 per cent methanol blending in petrol,” a senior government official told PTI. “Countries like China are using methanol blended fuel successfully,” the official added. He said methanol can be a good replacement for petrol.
Last year, V K Saraswat, member, Niti Aayog, and also chairman of Methanol Committee had said the methanol economy promises to help India mitigate its petroleum import costs and at the same time, counters problems associated with global warming.
“India is in the cusp of a gigantic transformation towards a developed nation. The country can use its abundant coal reserves to produce methanol through gasification. Abundant non-edible biomass can also be gasified to produce methanol,” Saraswat had said. According to latest estimate, methanol production could cut India’s huge crude oil imports bill, which is pegged at Rs 6 lakh crore per annum. Methanol is a clear and colourless liquid produced from natural gas, coal and wide range of renewable feedstocks. Also known as ‘wood alcohol’, methanol is naturally occurring and biodegradable.
India has already introduced blending of petrol with ethanol. According to the Methanol Institute, USA — an industry consortium, China is using 15-20 per cent of its fuel mixed with methanol.