Increase ethanol blending to 15%, ISMA urges food ministry

By: |
February 19, 2021 12:45 AM

He urged the ministry to advise the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) to immediately fix the standards for 12% and 15% blending.

Another miller said, “OMCs will take time to enhance their tankage capacity. In the meantime, if the government asks OMCs to immediately increase the blending percentage to 13%, it would straightaway mean an increase of 30% demand in ethanol. It will take care of all our worries.”Another miller said, “OMCs will take time to enhance their tankage capacity. In the meantime, if the government asks OMCs to immediately increase the blending percentage to 13%, it would straightaway mean an increase of 30% demand in ethanol. It will take care of all our worries.”

With sugar mills facing problems in supplying ethanol to oil marketing companies (OMCs) despite having been allocated a record 325 crore litres for the 2020-21 season, industry body ISMA has urged the Union food ministry to increase the blending percentage from the present 10% to 12-15%.

In a letter to the secretary, Food & Public Distribution, ISMA director general Abinash Verma said that since OMCs and their depots are unable to lift the ethanol as per the demand projected in their tenders, and are instead asking the suppliers to relocate their supplies to far away depots, it would be better if the government were to increase the blend percentage in states that have already reached 9-10% average blending.

“Since the government is looking at achieving 20% blending in 2025, it is necessary that we start achieving at least 12% to 15% in the next couple of years,” he said. As per a study by the research institute of IOCL in Faridabad, increased blending of up to 13% does not require any changes in existing vehicles, he said.

He urged the ministry to advise the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) to immediately fix the standards for 12% and 15% blending.

Verma said that the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers is said to have some reservations on the increased blend levels. “But since BIS standards are already fixed and notified for 20% ethanol blends with petrol, how and why are automobile manufacturers objecting to fixation of BIS standards for 12% and 15%? ” he asked.

According to industry insiders, OMCs are not fully prepared to receive the contracted ethanol. “The Central government has advanced the deadline for blending 20% ethanol in petrol from 2030 to 2025. According to that plan, sugar mills and distilleries set up manufacturing capacity to augment supplies. But unfortunately, the OMCs did not prepare for the demand side. They did not create adequate tankage, and hence are refusing to lift our ethanol supply. As a result, we are fast running out of storage capacity. Our tanks will soon start overflowing,” a sugar miller said on the condition of anonymity.

Another miller said, “OMCs will take time to enhance their tankage capacity. In the meantime, if the government asks OMCs to immediately increase the blending percentage to 13%, it would straightaway mean an increase of 30% demand in ethanol. It will take care of all our worries.”

He said that while the all-India blending average is 7.5%, in certain states it is almost 10%. “Eleven states have a blending average of 9.5-10%. If only these states start blending up to 13%, the demand for ethanol will go up and we won’t be asked to take our supplies to faraway states and there won’t be any extra transportation cost,” he added.

In April last year, Uttar Pradesh, the country’s top ethanol producer, had urged the Centre to increase the blending percentage to 15% from the present 10% in the state.

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