The government of India has proposed the adoption of E20 fuel for vehicular use. E20 is a blend of 20% ethanol with gasoline (petrol) and can be used as an alternative to the fuels currently available. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has published a draft notification as it opens up to comments from the public for the adoption of E20 fuel. The government is looking at the adoption of mass emission standards for this fuel for transport application. Additionally, it also wishes to facilitate the development of E20 compliant vehicles. The government believes that the E20 blend will not only curb vehicle emissions but help reduce the country’s oil import bill.
Ethanol is a common by-product that comes from agricultural feedstock like corn, hemp, potato, etc. It can be used as a bio-fuel in Flexi-fuel vehicles. Ethanol is greener than gasoline because the corn and crop plantations absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow. While the fuel still releases CO2 when you burn it, the net increase is comparatively lower.
However, ethanol is less efficient as a fuel. It has a lower energy content than energy-rich gasoline and diesel. The rule delivers less power when burned, which in return results in more fuel consumption and lower mileage. Additionally, blends over E15 (15% ethanol) is highly corrosive for older vehicles as the alcohol can break down old rubber seals and can damage engines.
Currently, only 10% of ethanol blend is permissible in India. However, in 2019, it only reached 5.6%. The statement issued by the ministry states “It [E20] will help in reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons, etc. It will also help reduce the oil import bill, thereby saving foreign exchange and boosting energy security.”
The ministry said the vehicle manufacturer would define the percentage of ethanol in the blend for its vehicles. The same would be displayed on the vehicle through a clearly visible sticker.
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