From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : BS VI compliant fuels
Mains level : BS norms
Oil marketing companies have informed that there will definitely be a marginal increase in retail prices of the fuels from April 1. Starting April 1, Bharat Stage (BS) VI emission norms come into force. This will be an upgrade on the currently prevalent BS-IV and BS-III norms.
Why rise in Oil prices?
In effect, as India moves up the BS scale, automobiles become cleaner and greener but fuel will go costly.
Oil refiners have invested heavily to upgrade their refineries to produce the cleaner, BS-VI compliant fuel.
The increase in the pump price of fuel will partially offset this cost that the oil marketing companies have paid.
In effect, consumers will have to pay a little extra for auto fuel that is cleaner, and which, ultimately, is expected to lead to cleaner air.
The BS norms
The BS emission standards are norms instituted by the Indian government to regulate the output of air pollutants from internal combustion engine equipment, including motor vehicles.
India has been following the European (Euro) emission norms, although with a time lag.
The more stringent the BS norm, lower is the tolerance for pollutants in automobile tailpipe emissions. Lower tailpipe emissions are the function of both more efficient engines, and cleaner fuels.
How is BS-VI fuel different from BS-IV fuel?
The main difference between BS-IV and BS-VI (which is comparable to Euro 6) is in the amount of sulphur in the fuel.
The lower the sulphur, the cleaner the fuel, so BS-VI fuel is essentially low-sulphur diesel and petrol.
BS-VI fuel is estimated to bring around an 80% reduction in sulphur content — from 50 parts per million (ppm) to 10 ppm.
Also NOx emissions from diesel cars are expected to come down by nearly 70% and, from cars with petrol engines, by 25%.
How will things change with the new fuels?
Cleaner fuel alone will not make a dramatic difference to air pollution.
For the full benefits to be experienced, the introduction of the higher grade fuel must go hand in hand with the rollout of BS-VI compliant vehicles as well.
While automakers will sell only BS-VI vehicles from April 1, all BS-IV vehicles sold before that date will stay on the road for as long as their registration is valid.
This, however, could be a concern because using BS-VI fuel in the current BS-IV engines (or conversely, running BS-VI engines on the current-grade fuel), may be both ineffective in curbing vehicular pollution, as well as damage the engine in the long run.
History of BS norms in India
India introduced emission norms first in 1991, and tightened them in 1996, when most vehicle manufacturers had to incorporate technology upgrades such as catalytic converters to cut exhaust emissions.
Fuel specifications based on environmental considerations were notified first in April 1996, to be implemented by 2000, and incorporated in BIS 2000 standards.
Following the landmark Supreme Court order of April 1999, the Centre notified Bharat Stage-I (BIS 2000) and Bharat Stage-II norms, broadly equivalent to Euro I and Euro II respectively.
BS-II was for the National Capital Region and other metros; BS-I for the rest of India.
From April 2005, in line with the Auto Fuel Policy of 2003, BS-III and BS-II fuel quality norms came into existence for 13 major cities, and for the rest of the country respectively.
From April 2010, BS-IV and BS-III norms were put in place in 13 major cities and the rest of India respectively.
As per the Policy roadmap, BS-V and BS-VI norms were to be implemented from April 1, 2022, and April 1, 2024 respectively.
But in November 2015, the Road Transport Ministry issued a draft notification advancing the implementation of BS-V norms for new four-wheel vehicle models to April 1, 2019, and for existing models to April 1, 2020.
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : BS VI Norms
Mains level : Bharat Emission Standards
International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT) released India’s first Type Approval Certificate (TAC) for Bharat Stage – VI norms for the two wheeler segment.
This is India’s first certification in the two wheeler segment for the BS – VI norms that are the latest emission norms as notified by the GoI.
Quick Recap: BS Norms
Bharat Stage norms are the automotive emission norms which the automotive manufacturers have to comply to sell their vehicles in India.
These norms are applicable to all two wheelers, three wheelers, four wheelers and construction equipment vehicles.
To curb growing menace of air pollution through the vehicles emission, the Govt. has decided to leapfrog from the exiting BS – IV norms to the BS- VI with effect from 1st April 2020.
How is BS VI Different from BS IV?
The major difference between the existing BS-IV and forthcoming BS-VI norms is the presence of sulphur in the fuel.
While the BS-IV fuels contain 50 parts per million (ppm) sulphur, the BS-VI grade fuel only has 10 ppm sulphur content.
Also, the harmful NOx from diesel cars can be brought down by nearly 70%. In the petrol cars, they can be reduced by 25%.
However, when we talk air pollution, particulate matter like PM 2.5 and PM 10 are the most harmful components and the BS VI will bring the cancer causing particulate matter in diesel cars by a phenomenal 80%.
Only those vehicles will be sold and registered in India from 1st April 2020 onwards, which comply to these norms.
ICAT is the premier testing and certification agency authorized by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
Aim: Providing testing and certification services to the vehicle and component manufacturers in India and abroad.
It has the latest equipment, facilities and capabilities to develop, validate, test and certify the engines and vehicles for the latest norms in the field of emission.
It tests for many other facilities like crash lab, NVH lab, EMC lab and test tracks.
Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: BS emission norms
Mains level: India’s policy measures to curb vehicular pollution
Volvo Eicher to receive first commercial BS VI Certificate
ICAT has completed the first BS-VI certification for a heavy-duty engine model for M/s Volvo Eicher Commercial Vehicle Limited.
The engine has been developed and manufactured indigenously by Volvo Eicher in India.
The successful completion of the compliance test of the engine, much ahead of the implementation date of 1 April 2020, gives sufficient time for product stabilization in terms of making it more robust and cost competitive for the end consumers.
Why BS VI?
The pro-active approach from the Government of India has made the country leapfrog from the conventional BS-IV to directly adopt BS-VI emission norms as the next level for regulatory framework in India.
The BS-VI emission standards are much more elaborate in their scope and integrate substantial changes to existing emission standards ensuring cleaner products to the consumer.
Besides the more stringent limits on the gaseous emission components, the particulate matter (PM) limits have also been significantly reduced along with the introduction of particle number (PN) limits.
International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT)
The International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT) is a division of NATRiP implementation society (NATIS), under the administrative control of the Ministry of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises, Government of India.
ICAT is the first of new world-class centers established under the National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project (NATRiP) with the main objective of carrying out Research & Development besides extending homologation facilities in the field of Automotive Engineering.
ICAT is one of the prime testing agencies recognized by the Government of India as one of the accredited ‘Type Approval and Homologation’ agencies in India under Central Motor Vehicle Rules (CMVR).
It has also been recognized as Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (SIRO) by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), since Feb 2010, by BIS for Tyre Testing, Safety Glasses and by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for emission and noise testing of generator sets.
Bharat Emission Standards
Bharat stage emission standards (BSES) are emission standards instituted by the Government of India to regulate the output of air pollutants from internal combustion engines and Spark-ignition engines equipment, including motor vehicles
The standards and the timeline for implementation are set by the Central Pollution Control Board under the Ministry of Environment & Forests and climate change
The standards, based on European regulations were first introduced in 2000
Bharat Stage IV emission norms have been in place since April 2010 and it has been enforced for entire country since April 2017
In 2016, the Indian government announced that the country would skip the BS-V norms altogether and adopt BS-VI norms by 2020
While the norms help in bringing down pollution levels, it invariably results in increased vehicle cost due to the improved technology & higher fuel prices
Bharat Emission Standards – Everything that you want to know
Recently, govt. has decided to implement Bharat Standards VI norms April 1, 2020. This comes in the wake of pressure from Supreme Court to implement clean vehicular fuel norms soon amid concerns on rising air pollution especially in Delhi.
This policy is inline with our commitments at Paris Climate Change Conference as well as public sentiments against rising air pollution in the cities, especially metros.
These are norms instituted by the Govt of India to regulate the output of air pollutants from internal combustion engine equipment, including motor vehicles.
The standards and the timeline for implementation are set by Central Pollution Control Board under the Ministry of Environment & Forests and climate change.
The standards are based on European regulations were first introduced in 2000.
What is current status of emission norms?
Currently, BS IV norms are applicable in 33 cities in which the required grade of fuel is available.
In rest of India, we are still following BS III standards.
Let’s see a little background of its implementation
1991– India introduced the emission norms for the first time.
1996– The norms saw some tightening as govt. asked most vehicle manufacturers to incorporate catalytic converters to cut exhaust emissions.
Govt. also notified fuel specifications based on environmental considerations, which were to be implemented by 2000.
2000– Govt. notified BS-I and BS-II standards, which were equivalent to Euro I and Euro II respectively. <BS-II was for the NCR and BS-I for the rest of India>
2005– BS-III and BS-II fuel quality norms came to be implemented. <BS-III for 13 major cities and BS-II for the rest of India>
2010– BS-IV and BS-III fuel quality norms were introduced. <BS-IV for 13 major cities and BS-III for the rest of India>
It works on a two-pronged strategy to control the air pollutant output.
Reducing the Sulphur content in the fuel.
At engine level, it augments some equipment which reduces emissions.
What does Auto Fuel Policy have to say?
Auto Fuel Policy 2003
It aims at addressing issues of vehicular emissions and vehicular technologies by applying fuel quality standards.
It encouraged the use of CNG/LPG fuel in cities affected by higher pollution levels.
It gives the timeline for adopting the Bharat Standards across the country:
BS IV- 2017
BS V- 2020
BS VI- 2024
Recently, govt had constituted an Expert Committee under the Chairmanship of Shri Soumitra Choudhuri, to draft Auto Fuel Vision and Policy 2025.
Recommendations of Soumitra Choudhuri committee:
It presents the road map for auto fuel quality till 2025 for the country,taking into account the achievement under the last Auto Fuel Policy, emission reduction of in use vehicles, growth of vehicles and the supply and availability of fuels.
It recommended nationwide fuel standards to be BS-IV. It has proposed to move to BS V from 2020 and BS VI from 2024.
To upgrade refineries to produce BS-V petrol and diesel will need Rs.80,000 crore.
It recommended Special Fuel Upgradation Cess of 75 paise/litre on fuel to meet the cost.
Let’s analyse Bharat Standards vis-a-vis Euro Standards
BS-VI is equivalent to Euro VI. However, many western countries have already graduated to Euro VI.
But, India is following European emission norms with a time lag of 5 years.
What are the challenges in implementing BS VI norms?
Engine development firms have cited a technological challenge in implementing the changes.
They have cited that jumping directly to BS-VI norms would give them little time to design changes in their vehicles.
Why is it challenging for auto firms to implement it?
There are two critical components which needs a fitment in the engine. They would have to be adapted to India’s peculiar conditions, where running speeds are much lower than EU or US. Industry estimates of required investment to upgrade from BS-IV to BS-V are to the tune of Rs. 50000 crore.
Diesel Particulate Filter– Its function is to remove particulate matter from diesel exhaust. Challenge: Problem is small cars with limited bonnet space would need major redesign to accommodate DPF. Temperature of 600 degrees Celsius is required to burn the soot in DPF, which is difficult to achieve in India due to low driving speeds.
Selective Catalytic Reduction Module– It reduces oxides of Nitrogen. Challenge: It needs injection of Aqueous solution into the system, for which separate infrastructure is needed for countrywide supply.
There are questions about the ability of the oil marketing companies to quickly upgrade fuel quality from BS-III and BS-IV standards to BS-VI.
The objective of upgradation to higher emission norms is defeated, if the uniform fuel is not available across the country.<This has been seen in reduced efficacy of engines of BS-IV vehicles, while taking inter-state travel>