India is the third-largest importer of crude oil after the United States and China and continues to rely on imports considerably.
It has imported 202.85 million tonne (MT) of crude oil Rs. 6.87 trillion & Rs. 4.16 trillion in 2014-15 & 2015-16 respectively, according to Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell.
The Government of India’s commitment to increase the use of ethanol and other alternate fuel for transportation; makes it more eco-friendly country in years to come.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and NCP chief Sharad Pawar at Vasantdada Sugar Institute (VSI), Manjari in Pune on Sunday. (Source: PTI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said the use of ethanol can reduce India’s fuel imports and cited Brazil’s example in successfully replacing gasoline to a large extent. He was speaking after inaugurating the ‘Sugarcane Value Chain-Vision 2025 Sugar’ International Conference and Exhibition.
"India has over the years lagged the world in agricultural research and technology. We can bring good results through micro irrigation in sugarcane," Modi said, adding that farmers in states like Maharashtra have turned to micro irrigation.
“India’s biggest import is petrol, diesel and oil. We can reduce this through use of ethanol. Brazil has made good use of ethanol,” Modi said, reports ET.
In a bid to reduce the reliance on imported crude oil, India will soon stop importing petroleum products and plans to take the blending limit of ethanol in petrol to 22.5 per cent and diesel to 15 per cent, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari recently said.
Representative Image (Source: Rediff)
Ethanol is an alcohol fuel that is added to petrol for curtailing the cost to the consumer, which results in reduction in oil consumption and lessens the environmental impact of transportation.
According to experts, ethyl alcohol or ethanol can either be produced by direct fermentation of sugarcane juice or from molasses – a by-product of the sugar manufacturing process.
As per estimates, 1 tonne of agri residue on dry basis can generate around 250 liters of bio-ethanol. Thus, approximately 6 billion liters of bio-ethanol could have been generated from the cellulosic material burnt in this season alone. This is equivalent to approximately 20% of the total petrol consumption of the country.
The biggest concern with the addition of ethanol to India's fuel supply is that it will take up scarce land set aside for grazing and other crops to grow fuel.
Present Government's push on Ethanol is really a game changer composition in years to come and there would a shift in land use from food crops to fuel crops.