Biofuel Policy

E20 Fuel to Cut Vehicular Emissions


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 Fuel

  • 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.

Vehicle compatibility

  • 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.

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