Ethanol Blending and Biofuels

Topic

Ethanol Blending and Biofuels

 

Context:
In July 2020, Researchers of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad have started using computational methods to understand the factors and impediments in incorporating biofuels into the fuel sector in India.
       • A unique feature of this work is that the framework considers revenue generation not only as an outcome of sales of the biofuel but also in terms of carbon credits via greenhouse gas emission savings throughout the project lifecycle.
In June 2021, The Indian Sugar Mills’ Association (ISMA) has said that to achieve the target of 8-8.5% ethanol blending, it is important to increase the blending level to at least 12% in surplus States and adjoining ones. The current supply is about 7.56% annually. The current demand is about 346.52 crore liters. In this context we will read about the purpose and importance of ethanol blending in the perspective of biofuels.

Outcomes:
   • The model has shown that if bio-ethanol is integrated with mainstream fuel, the costs associated with it are follows: production cost 43 percent, import 25 per cent, transport 17 per cent, infrastructure 15 percent, and inventory 0.43 per cent.
   • The model has also shown that the feed availability to the tune of atleast 40 per cent of the capacity is needed to meet the projected demands.

Significance
Globally, biofuels have caught the attention in last decade and it is imperative to keep up with the pace of developments in the field of biofuels.

   • Biofuels in India are of strategic importance as it augers well with the ongoing initiatives of the Government such as Make in India, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Skill Development and offers great opportunity to integrate with the ambitious targets of doubling of Farmers Income, Import Reduction, Employment Generation, Waste to Wealth Creation.

Biofuels
Any hydrocarbon fuel that is produced from an organic matter (living or once living material) in a short period of time (days, weeks, or even months) is considered a biofuel.
Biofuels may be solid, liquid or gaseous in nature.
1. Solid: Wood, dried plant material, and manure
2. Liquid: Bio ethanol and Biodiesel
3. Gaseous: Biogas

Ethanol
   • Ethanol (also called ethyl alcohol, grain alcohol, drinking alcohol, or simply alcohol) is an organic chemical compound. It is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid with a slight characteristic odor. It is a
psychoactive substance, recreational drug, and the active ingredient in alcoholic drinks.
   • Ethanol is naturally produced by the fermentation of sugars by yeasts or via petrochemical processes such as ethylene hydration. It has medical applications as an antiseptic and disinfectant. It is used as a chemical solvent and in the synthesis of organic compounds. It is a fuel source.

Ethanol Blending
   • It means blending of ethanol with other relevant fuels to make them more energy efficient. Ethanol can be mixed with gasoline to form different blends. As the ethanol molecule contains oxygen, it allows the engine to more completely combust the fuel, resulting in fewer emissions and there by reducing the occurrence of environmental pollution. Since ethanol is produced from plants that harness the power of the sun, ethanol is also considered as renewable fuel.

   • Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) program was launched in January, 2003. The program sought to promote the use of alternative and environment friendly fuels and to reduce import dependency for energy requirements.

 

Purpose and Importance of blending
1. To provide green and clean alternative fuel source.
2. To reduce burden of high fuel imports.
3. To reduce emission of greenhouse gases.
4. To provide alternative market for crops.
5. Promote organized sale of reduce crops.
6. To benefits farmers with income security and high returns.
7. To promote behavioral change in fuel consumption.
8. To raise spending on research and development.
9. Better utilization of urban solid waste.
10. Possible employment generation.

Classification of Biofuels under National Policy
1st generation biofuels are also called conventional biofuels. They are made from things like sugar, starch, or vegetable oil. Note that these are all food products. Any biofuel made from a feedstock that can also be consumed as a human food is considered a first-generation biofuel.
2nd generation biofuels are produced from sustainable feedstock. The sustainability of a feedstock is defined by its availability, its impact on greenhouse gas emissions, its impact on land use, and by its potential to threaten the food supply. No second generation biofuel is also a food crop, though certain food products can become second generation fuels when they are no longer useful for consumption. Second generation biofuels are often called “advanced biofuels.”
3rd generation biofuels are biofuel derived from algae. These biofuels are given their own separate class because of their unique production mechanism and their potential to mitigate most of the drawbacks of 1st and 2nd generation biofuels.
4th generation biofuels: In the production of these fuels, crops that are genetically engineered to take in high amounts of carbon are grown and harvested as biomass. The crops are then converted into fuel using second generation techniques.

Indian initiatives to promote the use of Biofuels:
Since 2014, the Government of India has taken a number of initiatives to increase blending of biofuels.
1. The major interventions include administrative price mechanism for ethanol, simplifying the procurement procedures of OMCs, amending the provisions of Industries (Development & Regulation) Act, 1951 and enabling lignocellulosic route for ethanol procurement.
2. The Government approved the National Policy on Biofuels-2018 in June 2018. The policy has the objective of reaching 20% ethanol-blending and 5% biodiesel-blending by the year 2030.
   o Among other things, the policy expands the scope of feedstock for ethanol production and has provided for incentives for production of advanced biofuels.
3. The Government has also increased the price of C-heavy molassesbased ethanol