Ethanol is a clear, colourless liquid with a characteristic, agreeable odour. In dilute aqueous solution, it has a somewhat sweet flavour, but in more concentrated solutions it has a burning taste. Ethanol melts at -114.1°C, boils at 78.5°C, and has a typical density of 0.789 g/ml at 20°C.
Ethanol has been made since ancient times by the fermentation of sugars. All the beverage ethanol, and more than half of industrial ethanol, is still made by this process. Simple sugars are the raw materials. Internationally, sugarcane, sweet sorghum and sugar beet are used for the production of ethanol as sugar containing feedstock. Maize, wheat and other cereals contain starch that can relatively easily be converted to sugar. In India, ethanol is primarily produced using sugarcane molasses. This is an example of first generation biofuels that uses biomass containing large amounts of sugar or materials that can be converted to sugar such as starch, for the generation of ethanol. Enzyme from yeast, changes the simple sugars into ethanol and carbon dioxide. Starches from potatoes, corn, wheat, and other plants can also be used in the production of ethanol by fermentation. However, the starches must first be broken down into simple sugars. An enzyme released by germinating barley, diastase, converts starches into sugars. Thus, the germination of barley, called malting, is the first step in brewing beer from starchy plants, such as corn (maize) and wheat.
The use of ethanol as a fuel for internal combustion engines, either alone or in combination with other fuels, has been given much attention mostly because of its possible environmental and long-term economical advantages over fossil fuel.
The use of ethanol as an automobile fuel is as old as the invention of the internal combustion engine itself. Ethanol was examined as an automotive fuel by Nikolas A Otto in 1897 during his early engine studies. Brazil has been using this fuel since 1920s.
Ethanol can be combined with petrol in any concentration up to pure ethanol (E100). Anhydrous ethanol, that is, ethanol without water, can be blended with petrol in varying quantities to reduce the consumption of petroleum fuels, as well as to reduce air pollution.
Ethanol is increasingly used as an oxygenate additive for standard petrol, as a replacement for methyl t-butyl ether (MTBE), the latter chemical being responsible for considerable groundwater and soil contamination. Ethanol can also be used to power fuel cells and to produce bio diesel.
Ethanol, an alcohol fuel, provides high quality, high octane for exceptional engine performance and reduced emissions. Ethanol has been used in cars since Henry Ford designed his 1908 Model T to operate on alcohol.
India initiated the use of ethanol as an automotive fuel in the year 2003. The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG) issued a notification in September 2002 for mandatory blending of 5 % ethanol in 9 major sugar producing states and four union territories from 2003. Due to ethanol shortage during 2004-05, the blending mandate was made optional in October 2004, and resumed in October 2006 in the second phase with a gradual rise to 10% blending.
In 2008, the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy established a National Policy on Biofuels to limit the country's future carbon footprint and dependence on foreign crude. Under this, the blending level of bio-ethanol at 5 % with petrol was proposed from October 2008, leading to a target of 20 % blending of bio-ethanol by 2017. It also laid down a roadmap for the phased implementation of the programme. Currently, Government is implementing Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme wherein OMCs sell petrol blended with ethanol up to 10%. This programme has been extended to whole of India except Union Territories of Andaman Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands with effect from 01st April, 2019 to promote the use of alternative and environment friendly fuels. This intervention also seeks to reduce import dependence for energy requirements and give boost to agriculture sector.
During the ethanol supply year 2019-20 about 173.03 crore ltrs of ethanol was supplied by sugar mills and grain based distilleries to OMCs thereby achieving 5% blending target. The Government has 10% blending target for mixing ethanol with petrol by 2022 & 20% blending target by 2030 and 5% blending of biodiesel in diesel in the whole country by 2030.
Ethanol blending in Petrol during the Ethanol Supply Year (ESY) 2021-22 (December 2021-November 2022) is estimated to have had impact of over Rs. 22,600 Crore on the import bill of crude oil and petroleum products. Public Sector OMCs have achieved over 10% ethanol blending in petrol during Ethanol Supply Year (ESY) 2021-22. Sale of E-20 (20% ethanol blended petrol) fuel has also been launched in February, 2023. An increase in India’s ethanol capacity from 1.53% during Ethanol Supply Year 2013-14 to 10% at ESY 2021-22. By 2025, at 20% blending level, ethanol demand will increase to 1016 crore litres. Ethanol supply has increased to 433.6 crore litres in 2021-22 from 38 crore litres in 2013-14. Due to demand growth, the ethanol distillation capacity too has doubled to 619 crore litre annually during 2021-22 from 215 crore litres; while number of distilleries has increased by 66% in 8 years to 262 in 2021-22 from 157 in 2014-15. Greenhouse gas emissions due to the EBP Programme were reduced by 318.2 lac tons during 2014 to November 2022.
Revision of ethanol price for the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme for the forthcoming sugar season 2022-23 during ESY 2022-23 from 1st December 2022 to 31st October, 2023.
As large quantity of ethanol is available right from the beginning of sugar season due to conversion of sugarcane juice and B heavy molasses to ethanol, it has been decided to redefine Ethanol Supply Year as a period of ethanol supply from 1st November of a year to 31st October of the following year from 1st November, 2023 onwards.
The important measures taken to increase the production of ethanol for blending include:
Source : Portal Content Team
Last Modified : 8/17/2023
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