From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : E20 fuel
Mains level : Ethanol blended petrol programme
The government has proposed the adoption of E20 fuel — a blend of 20% of ethanol and gasoline — as an automobile fuel in order to reduce vehicular emissions as well as the country’s oil import bill.
- E20 is a blend of 20% ethanol with gasoline (petrol) and can be used as an alternative to the fuels currently available.
- 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 – Pros and Cons
- 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.
- It 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 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 E20 (20% ethanol) is highly corrosive for older vehicles as the alcohol can break down old rubber seals and can damage engines.
- It added the compatibility of vehicles with the percentage of ethanol in the blend would be defined by the vehicle manufacturer, which would have to be displayed on the vehicle with a sticker.
- Ethanol is a biofuel and a common by-product of biomass left by agricultural feedstock such as corn, sugarcane, hemp, potato, etc.