Electric and Hybrid Cars – FAME, National Electric Mobility Mission, etc.

Electric and Hybrid Cars – FAME, National Electric Mobility Mission, etc.

Are solar electricity and electric vehicles really ‘clean’

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Costs of cleaner energy alternatives

It Matters How the Electricity Is Made

  • Among the many drivers of global warming, electricity generation/consumption and transportation of people and goods have been identified as two important drivers which contribute almost 50% to the emissions load.
  • Against this backdrop, two non-food or agriculture technologies that have been projected and implemented as ‘clean alternatives’ to mitigate the global warming phenomenon are:
  1. Solar photovoltaics for electricity generation
  2. Electrification of transport

Cleanliness of these alternatives

  • There is a general propensity to push these two alternatives in terms of energy and financial return on investments but very little is being said upfront about environmental cost and effect.
  • Both these technologies indeed lead to significantly reduced emissions after they are implemented.
  • The catchphrase here, however, is after!
  • There is little information or discussion in the public domain about upfront environmental cost as it is an inconvenient truth that cannot be wished away.

Why aren’t they clean

  • Prior to their implementation, a lot of different human-made materials have to be synthesized from naturally occurring raw materials.
  • Then, these have to be put together as a functioning unit or a device for a specific purpose.
  • These processes, unfortunately, are both energy- and emissions-intensive and to realise the extent of these intensities, one needs to go behind the scene.

Critical analysis

[1] Solar energy

  • The dominant market player in the field of solar energy conversion to electricity is silicon-based modules occupying more than 90 per cent of the installed capacity.
  • These modules are made of elements as well as inorganic and organic compounds such as silicon, aluminum, copper, silver, glass, epoxy, plastics and are generally installed using steel and concrete.
  • All these materials are human-made and hence need to be synthesized utilizing naturally occurring raw materials.
  • These synthesis processes are energy- and water-consuming and emit greenhouse gasses and pollutants into the atmosphere — dark horses in the chain of realization of solar energy conversion to electricity.
  • Information regarding the environmental costs of these processes is not extensively mentioned in the public domain except for a few occasional studies.
  • These studies indicate that the CO2(e) gasses emission due to solar panel manufacturing alone is about 2,560 kg per kilowatt of installed capacity, which is quite significant.

[2] Electrification of transportation

  • This involves the substitution of current petrol, diesel and gas combustion-powered engines in automobiles with electric engines.
  • The two main components of such an automobile, therefore, are: the engine which converts electrical energy to propulsion and a battery.
  • The electric engine or motor has been known for a long time but for the above application, it needs to have high energy density along with being compact and lightweight.
  • This can be accomplished by using what is known as ‘rare earth’ magnets which require extensive mining and processing which are environmentally intensive activities.
  • A closer look at the Li-ion battery shows that it requires a 40-kilowatt-hour battery and putting together such a battery results in releasing about 3,000 Kg of CO2(e) gasses into the

The Indian scenario

After looking at the behind-the-scenes emissions scenario of the two technologies, let us put Indian goals into perspective with respect to these two technologies.

Solar energy

  • It was recently announced that India will have an installed capacity of 100 gigawatt (GW) for electricity generation by solar photovoltaics by the year 2022.
  • This will mean gaseous emissions to the tune of 0.256 GTons of CO2(e) for manufacturing of solar panels, which is a staggering amount from this activity alone.
  • It should be noted here that installation of 100 GW electrical power generation plants will actually result in only 25 GW of usable electricity at best, assuming an efficiency of 25 per cent, which itself is quite high.
  • If, on the other hand, we would like to have 100 GW of usable electrical power being generated by solar photovoltaics, it will result in emissions to the tune of 1.024 GTons of CO2(e), which is enormous.
  • This is an upfront loading of the environment with greenhouse gasses gases and excludes the embodied carbon in batteries, inverters, junction boxes, wiring and so on.

Electric automobiles

  • The Union transportation minister has recently announced that India will become the largest manufacturer of electric vehicles and Li-ion batteries will be manufactured in India within the next six months.
  • To replace about a million conventional fuel-based vehicles (a fraction of the existing vehicles), it will result in upfront loading to the tune of 3 MTons of CO2(e) greenhouse gasses, just due to the battery assembly process alone.
  • The environmental costs due to electric motor manufacturing, mining of raw materials required for the battery and generation of electricity to run these million electric automobiles will be additional.
  • In both cases, the water requirement and particulate emissions have not been included, both of which are strongly linked to ecology and the environment.

Conclusion

  • It is very clear from the two technologies and the related national goals that huge environmental, human, as well as economic costs, need to be paid upfront to realise these goals.
  • The task becomes even more daunting as the infrastructure required to make either solar grade Si or for that matter put together a million Li-ion batteries is non-existent at present.
  • In light of these facts, it becomes imperative to realign goals and prioritize steps to be taken to alleviate the problem of emissions and the associated global warming.

Way forward

  • It is important to try various less harmful alternatives.
  • On another note, it is time to legislate so that businesses will also include the costs of atmospheric pollution together with their profit and loss statements.

By Explains

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Electric and Hybrid Cars – FAME, National Electric Mobility Mission, etc.

India’s ethanol roadmap: The targets and challenges

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Ethanol blended petrol

Mains level : Ethanol blended petrol (EBP) Program

The government of India has advanced the target for 20 per cent ethanol blending in petrol (also called E20) to 2025 from 2030. E20 will be rolled out from April 2023.

What is the move?

  • A government-appointed panel has recommended to the Centre to keep the price of ethanol-blended petrol lower than normal petrol in view of lower calorific value as also to incentivize people to go for the clean fuel.
  • This measure is aimed at reducing the country’s oil import bill and carbon dioxide pollution. This new initiative is also part of measures to improve energy security and self-sufficiency measures.

Roadmap for Ethanol Blending

  • The central government has released an expert committee report on the Roadmap for Ethanol Blending in India by 2025.
  • The roadmap proposes a gradual rollout of ethanol-blended fuel to achieve E10 fuel supply by April 2022 and phased rollout of E20 from April 2023 to April 2025.
  • Currently, 8.5 per cent of ethanol is blended with petrol in India.
  • In order to introduce vehicles that are compatible the committee recommends roll out of E20 material-compliant and E10 engine-tuned vehicles from April 2023 and production of E20-tuned engine vehicles from April 2025.

What is included in the roadmap?

(1) Energy security

  • The Union government has emphasized that increased use of ethanol can help reduce the oil import bill.
  • India’s net import cost stands at $551 billion in 2020-21. It is estimated that the E20 program can save the country $4 billion (Rs 30,000 crore) per annum.
  • Last year, oil companies procured ethanol worth about Rs 21,000 crore.
  • Hence it is benefitting the sugarcane farmers.
  • Further, the government plans to encourage the use of water-sparing crops, such as maize, to produce ethanol, and the production of ethanol from the non-food feedstock.

(2) Fuel efficiency

  • There is an estimated loss of six-seven per cent fuel efficiency for four-wheelers and three-four per cent for two-wheelers when using E20, the committee report noted.
  • These vehicles are originally designed for E0 and calibrated for E10.
  • The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers informed the expert committee that with modifications in engines (hardware and tuning), the loss in efficiency due to blended fuel can be reduced.

(3) Recalibrating engines

  • The use of E20 will require new engine specifications and changes to the fuel lines, as well as some plastic and rubber parts due to the fuel’s corrosive nature.
  • The engines, moreover, will need to be recalibrated to achieve the required power-, efficiency- and emission-level balance due to the lower energy density of the fuel.
  • This can be taken care of by producing compatible vehicles.

(4) Vehicles rollout

  • E20 material compliant and E10 compliant vehicles may be rolled out across the country from April 2023, the committee noted.
  • These vehicles can tolerate 10 to 20 per cent of ethanol-blended petrol and also deliver optimal performance with E10 fuel.
  • Vehicles with E20-tuned engines can be rolled out all across the country from April 2025.
  • These vehicles would run on E20 only and will provide high performance.

(5) Flex-fuel

  • A flexible-fuel vehicle (FFV) is an alternative fuel vehicle with an internal combustion engine designed to run on more than one fuel and both fuels are stored in the same common tank.
  • The Union ministry of road transport and highways issued a gazette notification March 2021 mandating stickers on vehicles mentioning their E20, E85 or E100 compatibility.
  • This will pave the way for flex fuel vehicles.

Why such a move?

(1) Fuel efficiency

  • Considering just the end use also indicates that CO2 emissions from blended fuel are lower than that for petrol since ethanol contains less carbon than petrol and produces less CO2.
  • The blended fuel burns more efficiently with a more homogenous mixture, which leads to a decrease in CO2 emissions compared with pure petrol.
  • The carbon dioxide released by a vehicle when ethanol is burned is offset by the carbon dioxide captured when the feedstock crops are grown to produce ethanol.
  • Comparatively, no emissions are offset when these petroleum products are burned.

(2) Emission reduction

  • Use of ethanol-blended petrol decreases emissions such as carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), the expert committee noted.
  • Higher reductions in CO emissions were observed with E20 fuel — 50 per cent lower in two-wheelers and 30 per cent lower in four-wheelers.
  • HC emissions reduced by 20 per cent with ethanol blends compared to normal petrol.
  • Nitrous oxide emissions, however, did not show a significant trend as it depended on the vehicle / engine type and engine operating conditions.
  • The unregulated carbonyl emissions, such as acetaldehyde emission were, however, higher with E10 and E20 compared to normal petrol.
  • However, these emissions were relatively lower. Evaporative emission test results with E20 fuel were similar to E0.

Global shreds of evidence

  • An increase in the ethanol content in fuels reduced the emissions of some regulated pollutants such as CO, HC and CO2.
  • However, no such change in emissions was observed for nitrogen oxides emissions.
  • The addition of ethanol, with a high blending octane number, however, allowed a reduction in aromatics in petrol.
  • Such blends also burn cleaner as they have higher octane levels than pure petrol but have higher evaporative emissions from fuel tanks and dispensing equipment.

Challenges ahead

  • Petrol requires extra processing to reduce evaporative emissions before blending with ethanol.
  • It is crucial to study the emissions from flexible fuel vehicles not only for the regulated gases but also the unregulated ones.
  • But producing and burning ethanol results in CO2 emissions.
  • Hence, net CO2 emission benefit depends on how ethanol is made and whether or not indirect impacts on land use are included in the calculations.
  • In summary, as we progress towards higher blending of ethanol, careful monitoring and assessment of emissions changes will be needed to make sure that emission reduction potential can be enhanced.

Back2Basics: EBP Programme

  • Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) programme was launched in January, 2003 for supply of 5% ethanol blended petrol.
  • The programme sought to promote the use of alternative and environment-friendly fuels and to reduce import dependency for energy requirements.
  • OMCs are advised to continue according to priority of ethanol from 1) sugarcane juice/sugar/sugar syrup, 2) B-heavy molasses 3) C-heavy molasses and 4) damaged food grains/other sources.
  • At present, this programme has been extended to the whole of India except UTs of Andaman Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands with effect from 01st April 2019 wherein OMCs sell petrol blended with ethanol up to 10%.

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Electric and Hybrid Cars – FAME, National Electric Mobility Mission, etc.

Being petroleum independent

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : FAME

Mains level : Paper 3- Reducing India's energy import dependence

The article discusses the steps taken by the government to improve fuel efficiency standards and the for the transition to clean sources of energy.

Reducing energy import dependence

  • Speaking on the increase in petrol and diesel prices, Prime Minister emphasised the need for clean sources of energy.
  • Expanding and diversifying energy supply is good, but if India is to reduce its energy import dependence, it must look towards first managing the demand for petroleum products.
  • It is worthwhile to reflect on measures taken by the previous governments as well as this government in this context.

Steps taken

National Electric Mobility Mission Plan

  • The UPA-2 administration formulated fuel efficiency standards for passenger vehicles that are now in effect.
  • It also constituted the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP).
  • While well-intended, both these actions fell short in terms of ambition.
  • India’s 2022 fuel efficiency standards for passenger cars are nearly 20% less stringent than the European Union’s standards.
  • The NEMMP primarily focused on hybrid electric vehicles.
  • Most of the incentives under the NEMMP went towards subsidising mild hybrids instead of electric vehicles.

Multiple fuel pathways

  • Recently, the government has encouraged multiple fuel pathways in the transport sector including natural gas.
  • The Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME-II) scheme now focuses largely on electric vehicles.
  • The government has also provided several additional fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to encourage a transition to electric vehicles.

Steps need to be taken

  • There are many things that the government can and should do to
  • First, the government should formulate a zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) programme that would require vehicle manufacturers to produce a certain number of electric vehicles.
  • At present, the electric mobility initiative in India is driven largely by new entrants in the two- and three-wheeler space.
  • A ZEV programme would require all manufacturers to start producing electric vehicles across all market segments.
  • The government should also strengthen fuel efficiency requirements for new passenger cars and commercial vehicles.
  • Two-wheelers, which consume nearly two-third of the petrol used in India, are not subject to any fuel efficiency standards.
  •  Adopting stringent fuel efficiency standards and a ZEV programme by 2024 can result in India’s petroleum demand peaking by 2030.
  • The FAME should be extended not only to all passenger cars and commercial vehicles but also to agricultural tractors.

Conclusion

As the economy recovers from the pandemic, the demand for petroleum products will rise, as will prices. But the government can save money for the consumer while enhancing long-term energy security by wielding the regulatory tools at its disposal.

 

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Electric and Hybrid Cars – FAME, National Electric Mobility Mission, etc.

Explained: National Hydrogen Energy Mission (NHEM)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NHEM

Mains level : Hydrogen as clean fuel

Recently, the Finance Minister in her budget speech formally announced the National Hydrogen Energy Mission which aims for generation of hydrogen from green power resources.

Background

  • With this announcement, India has made an uncharacteristically early entry in the race to tap the energy potential of the most abundant element in the universe, hydrogen.
  • The proposal in the Budget will be followed up with a mission draft over the next couple of months — a roadmap for using hydrogen as an energy source.
  • The mission would have a specific focus on green hydrogen, dovetailing India’s growing renewable capacity with the hydrogen economy.

Hydrogen as an element

  • The most common element in nature is not found freely.
  • Hydrogen exists only combined with other elements and has to be extracted from naturally occurring compounds like water (which is a combination of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom).
  • Although hydrogen is a clean molecule, the process of extracting it is energy-intensive.
  • The sources and processes, by which hydrogen is derived, are categorised by colour tabs.

Its types as fuel

  • Hydrogen produced from fossil fuels is called grey hydrogen; this constitutes the bulk of the hydrogen produced today.
  • Hydrogen generated from fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage options is called blue hydrogen; hydrogen generated entirely from renewable power sources is called green hydrogen.
  • In the last process, electricity generated from renewable energy is used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

Hydrogen for mobility

  • While proposed end-use sectors include steel and chemicals, the major industry that hydrogen has the potential of transforming is transportation.
  • This sector contributes a third of all greenhouse gas emissions, and where hydrogen is being seen as a direct replacement of fossil fuels, with specific advantages over traditional EVs.
  • Hydrogen fuel cell cars have a near-zero carbon footprint.
  • Hydrogen is about two to three times as efficient as burning petrol because an electric chemical reaction is much more efficient than combustion.

We already had H-CNG!

  • In October 2020, Delhi became the first Indian city to operate buses running on hydrogen spiked compressed natural gas (H-CNG) in a six-month pilot project.
  • The buses will run on a new technology patented by Indian Oil Corp for producing H-CNG — 18 per cent hydrogen in CNG — directly from natural gas, without resorting to conventional blending.

Try this PYQ from CSP 2019:

In the context of proposals to the use of hydrogen-enriched CNG (H-CNG) as fuel for buses in public transport, consider the following statements :
1. The main advantage of the use of H-CNG is the elimination of carbon monoxide emissions.
2. H-CNG as a fuel reduces carbon dioxide and hydrocarbon emissions.
3. Hydrogen up to one-fifth by volume can be blended with CNG as fuel for buses.
4. H-CNG makes the fuel less expensive than CNG.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 4 only
(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

Green hydrogen has specific advantages

  1. One, it is a clean-burning molecule, which can decarbonize a range of sectors including iron and steel, chemicals, and transportation.
  2. Two, renewable energy that cannot be stored or used by the grid can be channelled to produce hydrogen.
  • This is what the government’s Hydrogen Energy Mission, to be launched in 2021-22, aims for.

Philosophy behind NHEM

  • India’s electricity grid is predominantly coal-based and will continue to be so.
  • In several countries that have gone in for an EV push, much of the electricity is generated from renewables — in Norway for example, it is 99 per cent from hydroelectric power.
  • Experts believe hydrogen vehicles can be especially effective in long-haul trucking and other hard-to-electrify sectors such as shipping and long-haul air travel.
  • Using heavy batteries in these applications would be counterproductive, especially for countries such as India, where the electricity grid is predominantly coal-fired.

Back2Basics: How hydrogen fuel cells work?

  • Hydrogen is an energy carrier, not a source of energy.
  • Hydrogen fuel must be transformed into electricity by a device called a fuel cell stack before it can be used to power a car or truck.
  • A fuel cell converts chemical energy into electrical energy using oxidizing agents through an oxidation-reduction reaction.
  • Inside each individual fuel cell, hydrogen is drawn from an onboard pressurized tank and made to react with a catalyst, usually made from platinum.
  • As the hydrogen passes through the catalyst, it is stripped of its electrons, which are forced to move along an external circuit, producing an electrical current.
  • This current is used by the electric motor to power the vehicle, with the only byproduct being water vapour.

  Issues with H-Fuel cells

  • A big barrier to the adoption of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles has been a lack of fuelling station infrastructure.
  • There are fewer than 500 operational hydrogen stations in the world today, mostly in Europe, followed by Japan and South Korea.
  • Safety is seen as a concern. Hydrogen is pressurized and stored in a cryogenic tank, from there it is fed to a lower-pressure cell and put through an electrochemical reaction to generate electricity.
  • Scaling up the technology and achieving critical mass remains the big challenge.
  • More vehicles on the road and more supporting infrastructure can lower costs. India’s proposed mission is seen as a step in that direction.

By Explains

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Electric and Hybrid Cars – FAME, National Electric Mobility Mission, etc.

Green Tax for personal vehicles older than 15 years

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Green tax

Mains level : Vehicular pollution and its control

The Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways has approved a proposal to levy a ‘green tax’ on old vehicles.

Do read about Green Mobility, India’s FAME-I and II Scheme.

Green Tax

  • Personal vehicles will be charged a tax at the time of renewal of Registration Certification after 15 years.
  • The policy will come into effect from April 1, 2022.
  • The levy may differ depending on fuel (petrol/diesel) and type of vehicle.
  • The proposal will now go to the States for consultation before it is formally notified.
  • It includes 10-25% of road tax on transport vehicles older than eight years at the time of renewal of fitness certificate.
  • The proposal on green tax also includes a steeper penalty of up to 50% of road tax for older vehicles registered in some of the highly polluted cities in the country.
  • Revenue collected from this tax will be kept in a separate account and will be used for tackling pollution, and for States to set up state-of-art facilities for emission monitoring.

Why such a move?

  • To dissuade people from using vehicles which damage the environment
  • To motivate people to switch to newer, less polluting vehicles
  • Green tax will reduce the pollution level, and make the polluter pay for pollution

Exemptions to this tax

  • Vehicles like strong hybrids, electric vehicles and alternate fuels like CNG, ethanol, LPG etc to be exempted;
  • Vehicles used in farming, such as tractor, harvester, tiller etc to be exempted;

Other proposals

  • The Ministry also approved a watered-down policy of deregistration and scrapping of vehicles, bringing only those vehicles owned by government departments and PSUs and are older than 15 years under its ambit.
  • In 2016, the Centre had floated a draft Voluntary Vehicle Fleet Modernization Programme that aimed to take 28 million decade-old vehicles off the road.

By Explains

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Electric and Hybrid Cars – FAME, National Electric Mobility Mission, etc.

Progression to electric vehicles: Challenges and opportunities for India

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Lithium ion battery

Mains level : Paper 3- Adoption of e-vehicles and challenges

Article highlight India’s preparedness for the faster adoption of electric vehicles and steps taken by the government in this direction.

Why electric mobility matters for India

  • It is important for India because such vehicles are sustainable and profitable in the long term.
  • Reducing dependence on crude oil will save the government money, reduce carbon emissions, and build domestic energy independence.
  • India’s transition to electric vehicles will allow us to fine-tune our infrastructure.
  • This will also influence India’s foreign policy as our energy security dependence will shift from West Asia to Latin America.
  • India imported 228.6 MT of crude oil worth $120 billion in 2018–19, which made it the third-largest oil importer in the world in terms of value.

Government policies

  •  Under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles and its updated (Fame 2) version, the government has allocated $1.3 billion in incentives.
  • A proposal for a $4.6 billion subsidy for battery makers has also been proposed by the NITI Aayog.
  • These policies are embedded with the vision to have 30% electric vehicles plying the roads by 2030.

Developing domestic  battery manufacturing capacity

  • At present, India’s lithium-ion battery demand is fulfilled by imports from China, Vietnam, and Hong Kong.
  • In the last two years, India’s lithium imports have tripled from $384 mn to $1.2 bn.
  • With its policy intervention to support battery manufacturers by supplying lithium and cobalt, this industry is more likely to grow domestically to support India’s goal to switch to electric mobility.
  • In 2019, NALCO, Hindustan Copper Limited (HCL) and Mineral Exploration Corporation Ltd (MECL) formally signed a joint venture agreement to form Khanij Bidesh India Limited (KABIL) to scout for strategic mineral assets like lithium and cobalt abroad for commercial use and for supplying to meet the domestic requirement for battery manufacturers.
  • Developing domestic battery manufacturing capacity may fundamentally change India’s relationship with resource-rich Latin America as the government plans to buy overseas lithium reserves.
  • In Latin America, most of the production comes from Argentina, Chile, and Bolivia which holds about 80% of the explored lithium of the world.
  • Currently, India’s biggest trading partners in Latin America are Brazil, Mexico, and Venezuela, and majority of trade is concentrated on crude oil which includes 14%-20% of India’s total crude oil imports.
  • This may soon shift to lithium and cobalt.

Conclusion

The Indian government’s initiation to take the front seat in electric mobility and preemptive action to send a high-level delegation to have a precise understanding of the availability of lithium and possibilities of joint ventures will supply domestic markets and drive international markets.

By Explains

Explain the News

Electric and Hybrid Cars – FAME, National Electric Mobility Mission, etc.

India to explore Lithium reserves in Argentina

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Global Lithium production

Mains level : Lithium ion batteries and their significance

India has inked a pact with an Argentine firm to jointly prospect lithium in the South American country.

Why such a move?

  • Currently, India is heavily dependent on import of these cells and the move to ink sourcing pacts for lithium is seen as another salvo in the front against China, a key source of both the raw material and cells.
  • India is seen as a late mover as it attempts to enter the lithium value chain, coming at a time when EVs are predicted to be a sector ripe for disruption.
  • And 2021 is likely to be an inflexion point for battery technology, with several potential improvements to the Li-ion technology.

About Lithium

  • Lithium is a chemical element with the symbol Li and atomic number 3.
  • It is a soft, silvery-white alkali metal. Under standard conditions, it is the lightest metal and the lightest solid element.
  • Like all alkali metals, lithium is highly reactive and flammable and must be stored in mineral oil.
  • When cut, it exhibits a metallic lustre, but moist air corrodes it quickly to a dull silvery grey, then black tarnish.
  • Lithium metal is isolated electrolytically from a mixture of lithium chloride and potassium chloride.
  • It is a crucial building block of the lithium-ion rechargeable batteries that power electric vehicles (EVs), laptops and mobile phones.

Global producers of lithium

  • Australia and Chile have swapped positions as the world’s leading lithium-producing country over the past decade. In 2019, the world’s Top 5 lithium producers were:
  1. Australia – 52.9% of global production
  2. Chile – 21.5%
  3. China – 9.7%
  4. Argentina – 8.3%
  5. Zimbabwe – 2.1%
  • The U.S. ranked 7th with 1.2% of the world’s lithium production.
  • In 2019, the world’s Top 5 lithium reserves by country were:
  1. Chile – 55.5% of the world’s total
  2. Australia – 18.1%
  3. Argentina – 11.0%
  4. China – 6.5%
  5. U.S. – 4.1%

Lithium-ion batteries

  • A lithium-ion battery or Li-ion battery is a type of rechargeable battery.
  • They are commonly used for portable electronics and electric vehicles and are growing in popularity for military and aerospace applications.
  • A prototype Li-ion battery was developed by Akira Yoshino in 1985, based on earlier research by John Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham, Rachid Yazami and Koichi Mizushima during the 1970s–1980s.
  • In 2019, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was given to this trio “for the development of lithium-ion batteries”.

How does it work?

  • In the batteries, lithium ions move from the negative electrode through an electrolyte to the positive electrode during discharge, and back when charging.
  • Li-ion batteries use an intercalated lithium compound as the material at the positive electrode and typically graphite at the negative electrode.
  • The batteries have a high energy density, no memory effect and low self-discharge.

Try this PYQ:

Q.Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles produce one of the following as “exhaust”:

(a) NH3

(b) CH4

(c) H2O

(d) H2O2

Limitations

  • Despite the improvements in lithium-ion batteries over the last decade, long charging times and weak energy density are still barriers.
  • The Li-ion batteries are seen as sufficiently efficient for applications such as phones and laptops, in case of EVs.
  • They still lack the range that would make them a viable alternative to internal combustion engines.
  • A number of alternatives are being fostered to achieve more optimal options.

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Electric and Hybrid Cars – FAME, National Electric Mobility Mission, etc.

Green Hydrogen based vehicular fuel

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Hydrogen fuel cell, H-CNG

Mains level : Paper 3- Adoption of hydrogen as vehicular fuel

Transport sector has been a major contributor of Green House Gases in India. Moving towards cleaner fuels brings to fore two options battery-operated electric vehicle (EV) and hydrogen fuel cell EV. The article compares the two.

Vehicular emission and steps taken to deal  with it

  • The transport sector in India contributes one-third of the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, within which the lion’s share is that of road transport.
  • The government has made concerted efforts to tackle vehicular emissions with policies steps and programmes such as the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME I) scheme, FAME II, tax benefits, etc.

Blending hydrogen

  • Typically, hydrogen can be produced in one of three ways, i.e., from fossil fuels (grey hydrogen), through carbon capture utilisation & storage (CCUS) application and fossil fuels (blue hydrogen), or by using renewable energy (green hydrogen). 
  • Indian Oil Corporation Limited has patented a technology that produces H-CNG (18% hydrogen in CNG) directly from natural gas, without having to undertake expensive conventional blending.
  • This compact blending process provides a 22% reduction in cost as compared to conventional blending.
  • In comparison to CNG, H-CNG allows for a 70% reduction in carbon monoxide emissions and a 25% reduction in hydrocarbon emissions.
  • The new H-CNG technology requires only minor tweaks in the current design of CNG buses.
  • However, the issue is that the  Hydrogen-spiked CNG is still being produced from natural gas-a fossil fuel.

Electric vehicle Vs. Fuel cell

  • From a commercial viability standpoint, two cleaner fuel alternatives come to mind—battery-operated electric vehicles (BEV) and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV).
  • Hydrogen FCEVs has reduced refuelling time (5 minutes versus 30-40 minutes with fast charges), higher energy density, longer range, etc.
  • However, one needs to focus on is the entire life cycle of these vehicles as opposed to restricting the analysis to just the carbon-free tailpipe emissions.
  • According to a report by Deloitte (2020) on hydrogen and fuel cells, the lifecycle GHG emissions from hydrogen FCEVs ranges between 130-230 g CO2e per km.
  • The lower end of the range depicts the case of hydrogen production from renewables while the higher end reflects the case of hydrogen production from natural gas.
  • The corresponding life cycles GHG emissions for BEV and internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles range between 160-250 g CO2e and 180-270 g CO2e respectively.
  • The cost of lithium ion-based battery-operated vehicles has been reducing while hydrogen fuel cell technology is relatively quite expensive.
  • A hydrogen-run vehicle achieves an energy efficiency rate of 25-35% (roughly 45% of energy is lost during the electrolysis process alone).

Way forward

  • Given that these are early days for FCEV, one can be hopeful that we will be able to achieve economies of scale and attain cost reductions.
  • Hydrogen Council (2020) on hydrogen cost competitiveness that states scaling up and augmenting fuel cell production from 10,000 to 200,000 units can deliver a 45% reduction in the cost per unit.
  • Similarly, the versatility of hydrogen allows for complementarity across its numerous applications.
  • Moreover, based on the numbers quoted by this report, fuel cell stacks for passenger vehicles are expected to exhibit learning rates of 17% in the coming future.
  • The corresponding figures for commercial vehicles stand at 11%.
  • Efforts are underway in India, and the research activities pertaining to hydrogen have been compiled and recently released in the form of a country status report.
  • In their quest for becoming carbon neutral by 2035, Reliance Industries plan to replace transportation fuels with hydrogen and clean electricity.
  • Similarly, the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) is considering setting up a green hydrogen production facility in Andhra Pradesh.
  • The ministry of road transport and highways issued a notification proposing amendments to the Central Motor Vehicles Rules (1989) to incorporate safety standards for hydrogen fuel cell technology vehicles.
  • As per a policy brief issued by TERI, demand for hydrogen in India is expected to increase 3-10 fold by 2050.

Consider the question “What are the benefits and challenges in the adoption of hydrogen as vehicular fuel?”

Conclusion

Against this backdrop, the future of hydrogen, particularly green hydrogen, looks promising in India.


Source:-

https://www.financialexpress.com/opinion/fuelling-a-green-future/2121991/

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Electric and Hybrid Cars – FAME, National Electric Mobility Mission, etc.

Delhi government’s Electric Vehicle Policy

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Electric vehicles regulation in India

Image source: TOI

The Delhi government has notified the new Electric Vehicle Policy under which it aims to make a quarter of all new vehicle registrations battery-operated by 2024 and thereby help reducing air pollution.

Try this PYQ:

Q.In the context of proposals to the use of hydrogen-enriched CNG (H-CNG) as fuel for buses in public transport, consider the following statements:

  1. The main advantage of the use of H-CNG is the elimination of carbon monoxide emissions.
  2. H-CNG as fuel reduces carbon dioxide and hydrocarbon emissions.
  3. Hydrogen up to one-fifth by volume can be blended with CNG as fuel for buses.
  4. H-CNG makes the fuel less expensive than CNG.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct? (CSP 2018)

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 4 only

(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

Some key highlights of the policy are:

  • A purchase incentive of Rs 5,000 per kilowatt/hour of battery capacity (advanced battery), a maximum incentive of Rs 30,000 per vehicle for two-wheelers.
  • A purchase incentive of Rs 30,000 per vehicle (advanced battery) for e-autos.
  • A purchase incentive of Rs 30,000 per vehicle for the purchase of one e-rickshaw and e-cart. Additionally, an interest subsidy of 5 per cent on loans on vehicles with advanced battery.
  • Conversion of 50 per cent of all new stage carriage buses (all public transport vehicles with 15 seats or more) by 2022.
  • A purchase incentive of Rs 10,000 per kilowatt/hour of battery capacity (advanced battery), and maximum incentive of Rs 150,000 per vehicle to the first 1,000 e-four wheelers.
  • Complete removal of road tax and registration fee for all battery electric vehicles.

Significance of the policy

  • According to the VAHAN database of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, electric vehicles comprised only 3.2 per cent of the new vehicles registered in Delhi in 2019-20.
  • The proposed 25 per cent transformation of Delhi’s new-vehicle market could catalyse electric vehicle production and bring more product diversity.

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Electric and Hybrid Cars – FAME, National Electric Mobility Mission, etc.

EV battery recycling in India: An opportunity for change

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : FAME

Mains level : Electric vehicles regulation in India

This newscard is an excerpt from the original article published in the D2E. It focuses on India for not having adequate legislations that can prevent illegal dumping of spent lithium batteries ahead of the FAME-I and II scheme.

Practice question for mains:

Q.What are the different phases of Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles (FAME) Scheme? Discuss various challenges in adopting EV technology in India.

Background

  • Electric vehicles (EV) are a part of the new normal as the global transportation sector undergoes a paradigm shift, with a clear preference towards cleaner and greener vehicles.
  • Like its western counterparts and China, India has pushed the mandate for EVs as well, through schemes such as Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME) I and FAME II.
  • EV sales in the country are expected to grow annually at a compound annual growth rate of 35 per cent till 2026, according to a market survey by news daily Economic Times.

Powering the EVs

  • Initially, EVs were powered with lead-acid batteries. Lithium-ion batteries that include other chemical moieties like cobalt, graphite and nickel now form the heart of an EV.
  • At the end of the battery lifespan, what remains is battery waste, comprising enormous amounts of chemicals such as cobalt, electrolytes, lithium, manganese oxide and nickel.

Latent threats to India

  • India, at present, is underprepared for the sheer volume of EV battery waste expected in the coming decade.
  • Most of our e-waste is dumped in landfills.
  • Further, we do not have adequate legislation that can prevent illegal dumping of spent lithium batteries.
  • This sets a dangerous precedent, as India can potentially become a lithium waste dumpsite for not just waste from domestic EVs, but also from import of spent batteries.

There is a legal loophole

  • The most recent legislations — the E-waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011, E-waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2016 and E-waste (Management) Amendment Rules, 2018 — evolved considerably in terms of the range of materials.
  • They do not, however, include a cohesive set of rules for the safe disposal of EV batteries.
  • Li-ion batteries, thus, find no mention, in any framework for end-of-life treatment or recycling.

Threats posed by un-recycled batteries

  • The batteries constitute substances that — if not recycled or treated in a proper fashion — can cause harm to both the environment and humans.
  • Further, lithium itself spontaneously reacts with moisture and can lead to major landfill explosions.

Global precedence over batteries regulation:

Several nations are ahead of the curve and have mandated legislations that deal with battery recycling and treatment:

(1) EU Batteries Directive

  • The Batteries Directive was issued by the European Union to minimise the negative impact of batteries and accumulators on the environment.
  • The Batteries Directive broke down the different stages of the process of collection and recycling of waste batteries and issued directions on how each of these must be performed.

(2) Germany

  • Germany puts a legal obligation on producers to collect their products from the consumer and deposit them in containers managed by the GRS Batterien Foundation.
  • It is set up by leading battery manufactures and the German Electrical and Electronics Industry Association in 1998.
  • It ensures collected waste is segregated and sorted according to electrochemical composition — leading to efficient extraction of materials that can be recovered and recycled.

(3) Japan

  • The Japan Battery Recycling Centre (JBRC), established in 2004, is a producer-responsibility organisation that helps keep the process of recycling waste batteries going.
  • Consumers and offices — that utilise technology running on batteries — discharge delivery to collection sites placed with retailers who register with the JBRC as co-operation shops for recycling.
  • The collection sites facilitate segregation of the batteries by providing four different types of labels for four different types of batteries.

Where does India stand among these?

  • The Indian e-waste legal regime underwent a tremendous change over time and has only recently embraced EPR and collection of e-waste.
  • A lack of clear scientific guidelines and regulations tailor-made for li-ion batteries, however, leads to poor return of investments in setting up recycling units, as it is a capital-intensive initiative.
  • In October 2019, the framing of a much-awaited recycling policy was proposed by the Union government.
  • It is, however, still awaited. The first step to creating a circular economy for EV batteries is to expand our laws to include li-ion battery chemistries.

We are late but not the last

  • Large quantities of EV battery waste presented a unique opportunity to nurture a domestic recycling industry, which is currently in its infancy.
  • The process of recycling can help recover up to half the valuable metals, including aluminium, cobalt, copper, lithium, manganese and nickel, which can then be used for secondary applications.
  • Tata Chemicals Ltd, for example, commissioned a li-ion battery recycling plant in Maharashtra in 2019.

Way forward

  • Governments must take a proactive stance when it comes to the development of batteries that cause less harm to the environment.
  • There must be an extended producer responsibility (EPR) mechanism that ensured manufacturers of batteries to bear a legal obligation of their products being safely recycled and disposed of.

Back2Basics: Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles

FAME I

  • In this phase, market creation through demand incentives was aimed at incentivizing all vehicle segments i.e. 2-Wheelers, 3-Wheelers Auto, Passenger 4-Wheeler vehicles, Light Commercial Vehicles and Buses.
  • The demand incentive was available to buyers of EV in the form of an upfront reduced purchase price to enable wider adoption.

FAME II

  • This phase will mainly focus on supporting electrification of public & shared transportation, and aims to support through subsidies 7000 e-Buses, 5 lakh e-3 Wheelers, 55000 e-4 Wheeler Passenger Cars and 10 lakh e-2 Wheelers.
  • The scheme will be applicable mainly to vehicles used for public transport or those registered for commercial purposes in e-3W, e-4W and e-bus segments.
  • However, privately-owned registered-2W will also be covered under the scheme as a mass segment.
  • In addition, the creation of charging infrastructure will be supported in selected cities and along major highways to address range anxiety among users of electric vehicles.

Original article:

https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/pollution/electric-vehicle-battery-recycling-in-india-an-opportunity-for-change-72621

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National E-Mobility Mission Plan 2020

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : National E-Mobility Mission Plan, 2020

Mains level : FAME Scheme and its progress

 

The Supreme Court has sought the response of the government on a petition that alleges the non-implementation of the National E-Mobility Mission Plan, 2020 (NEMMP), which came out in 2012.

National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020

  • The plan was launched by the Government of India in 2013 with the objective of achieving national fuel security by promoting electric and hybrid vehicles.
  • It had set a target of achieving a sale of seven million EVs by 2020 and thereby aimed to cut total carbon dioxide emissions by three per cent from the ‘do nothing’ scenario.
  • The government would provide fiscal and monetary incentives for this industry.
  • The plan had made several recommendations for the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), including electric-powered government fleets and public transportation and subsidies for those who opt for EVs.

What was the petition about?

  • The petition contended that the governmental apathy has violated the fundamental rights of citizens to health and clean environment guaranteed under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.
  • The government had failed in its obligation to mitigate the impact of climate change and air pollution partly attributable to emissions from vehicles that burn fossil fuels.
  • Government’s failure to suitably implement these recommendations is the direct cause of air pollution levels that have turned our cities into virtual ‘gas chambers’.

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[pib] Automotive Industry Standards (AIS)-155

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : AIS 155, Microdots

Mains level : Application of Microdots

The Union Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) has notified regarding to Automotive Industry Standards (AIS)-155 in respect of Microdot identifiers affixed  on  the motor vehicles.

What is AIS-155?

  • AIS-155 is an Indian standard for Microdot identifiers which are affixed on the motor vehicles and their parts, components, assemblies, sub-assemblies through amendment in Rule 92 of the Central Motor vehicles.
  • The Central Motor vehicles (Fourteenth Amendment) Rules, 2019 comes into force on the date of publication in the Official Gazette.

Microdots Technology

  • The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways issued a draft notification on amending the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, and allowing motor vehicles and their parts, components, assemblies, sub-assemblies to be affixed with permanent and nearly invisible microdots.
  • These microdots can be read physically with a microscope and identified with ultraviolet light.
  • Microdots are a globally proven technology to ensure originality in spare parts of machines and components, including in the automobile sector.
  • The government has envisaged that with microdots becoming a permanent feature in vehicles, identifying them would become easier in case they are stolen.

How it works?

  • The microdots and adhesive are to become a permanent fixture/affixation which cannot be removed without damaging the asset itself.
  • The microdots are to comply with AIS 155 requirements, if affixed.
  • The technology involves spraying thousands of microscopic dots onto vehicles or other assets to form a unique identification.
  • Each microdot carries this identification which is registered to the owner, but is not visible to the naked eye.

By Explains

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Explained: Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Hydrogen- Oxygen Fuel Cells

Mains level : Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV)

The Supreme Court has asked the government to look into the feasibility of hydrogen-based tech to deal with vehicular air pollution in New Delhi. India is looking closely at Japan, which has made progress in this field.

How does hydrogen fuel cell work?

  • At the heart of the fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) is a device that uses a source of fuel, such as hydrogen, and an oxidant to create electricity by an electrochemical process.
  • Put simply, the fuel cell combines hydrogen and oxygen to generate electric current, water being the only byproduct.
  • Like conventional batteries under the bonnets of automobiles, hydrogen fuel cells too convert chemical energy into electrical energy.
  • From a long-term viability perspective, FCEVs are billed as vehicles of the future, given that hydrogen is the most abundant resource in the universe.

So is an FCEV a conventional vehicle or an electric vehicle (EV)?

  • While the fuel cells generate electricity through an electrochemical process, unlike a battery-electricity vehicle, it does not store energy and, instead, relies on a constant supply of fuel and oxygen.
  • It works in the same way that an internal combustion engine relies on a constant supply of petrol or diesel, and oxygen.
  • In that sense, it may be seen as being similar to a conventional internal combustion engine.
  • But unlike the combustion engine cars, there are no moving parts in the fuel cell, so they are more efficient and reliable by comparison. Also, there is no combustion onboard, in the conventional sense.

Classification of EVs

Globally, EVs are bracketed under three broad categories:

  • Battery electric vehicle or BEVs such as the Nissan Leaf or Tesla Model S, which have no internal combustion engine or fuel tank, and run on a fully electric drivetrain powered by rechargeable batteries.
  • Conventional hybrid electric vehicles or HEVs such as the Toyota Camry sold in the country combine a conventional internal combustion engine system with an electric propulsion system, resulting in a hybrid vehicle drivetrain that substantially reduces fuel use. The onboard battery in a conventional hybrid is charged when the IC engine is powering the drivetrain.
  • Plug-in hybrid vehicles or PHEVs, such as the Chevrolet Volt, too have a hybrid drivetrain that uses both an internal combustion engine and electric power for motive power, backed by rechargeable batteries that can be plugged into a power source.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of fuel cells?

  • Fuel cells have strong advantages over conventional combustion-based technologies currently used in many power plants and cars, given that they produce much smaller quantities of greenhouse gases and none of the air pollutants that cause health problems.
  • Also, if pure hydrogen is used, fuel cells emit only heat and water as a byproduct. Such cells are also far more energy-efficient than traditional combustion technologies.
  • Unlike battery-powered electric vehicles, fuel cell vehicles do not need to be plugged in, and most models exceed 300 km of range on a full tank. They are filled up with a nozzle, just like in a petrol or diesel station.

Limitations of Fuel Cells EVs

  • While FCEVs do not generate gases that contribute to global warming, the process of making hydrogen needs energy — often from fossil fuel sources.
  • That has raised questions over hydrogen’s green credentials.
  • Also, there are questions of safety — hydrogen is more explosive than petrol.
  • Opponents of the technology cite the case of the hydrogen-filled Hindenburg airship in 1937.
  • The other major hurdle is that the vehicles are expensive, and fuel dispensing pumps are scarce.

Progress in India

  • In India, so far, the definition of EV only covers BEVs; the government has lowered taxes to 12%.
  • At 43%, hybrid electric vehicles and hydrogen FCEVs attract the same tax as IC vehicles.
  • The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has been supporting various such projects in academic institutions, research and development organisations and industry for development.

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Ethanol production in India

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Ethanol, EBP programme

Mains level : Ethanol production in India

  • The MoEFCC announced that mills would not require separate environmental clearance to produce additional ethanol from B-heavy molasses.
  • The ministry clarified that the proposals to undertake additional ethanol production from B-heavy molasses/sugarcane juice/sugar syrup/sugar would be considered under the provisions of the EIA Act, 2006.

What are ethanol and molasses?

  • Ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, is a liquid that has several uses.
  • At 95% purity, it is called rectified spirit and is used as the intoxicating ingredient in alcoholic beverages. At 99%-plus purity, ethanol is used for blending with petrol.
  • Both products are made from molasses, a byproduct of sugar manufacturing.
  • For making sugar, mills crush sugarcane which typically has a total fermentable sugars (TFS) content of 14%.
  • The TFS component consists of sucrose along with the reducing sugars glucose and fructose.
  • Most of this TFS component gets crystallized into sugar, and the remaining part is called molasses.

Molasses stages

  • The molasses go through three stages — A, B, and C, the last one being where the molasses are most un-crystallised and non-recoverable.
  • The ‘C’ molasses roughly constitute 4.5% of the cane, and have a remaining TFS of 40%.
  • After C-molasses are sent to the distillery, ethanol is extracted from them. Every 100 kg of TFS yields 60 litres of ethanol.
  • Thus, from one tonne of cane, mills can produce 115 kg of sugar (at 11.5% recovery) and 45 kg of molasses (18 kg TFS) that gives 10.8 litres of ethanol.

How more ethanol can be produced?

  • Mills can also produce only ethanol from sugarcane, without producing sugar at all.
  • In this case, the entire 14% TFS in the cane is fermented. Here, a mill can make 84 litres of ethanol and zero kg of sugar.
  • In between the two extreme cases, there are intermediate options as well, where the cane juice does not have to be crystallised right till the final ‘C’ molasses stage.
  • The molasses can, instead, be diverted after the earlier ‘A’ and ‘B’ stages of sugar crystal formation.
  • Mills, then, would produce some sugar, as opposed to fermenting the whole sugarcane juice into ethanol.

What new clearance aims?

  • If ethanol is manufactured using ‘B’ heavy molasses (7.25% of cane and with TFS of 50%), around 21.75 litres will get produced along with 95 kg of sugar from every 1 tonne of cane.
  • The latest move by the government is to waive the environmental clearance required to produce ethanol at this stage.
  • In the press release, it has been explained that this was done since this process does not contribute to the pollution load.

Why focus on more ethanol?

  • Mills currently have all-time-high stocks of sugar, and they have been at loggerheads with farmers over non-payment of dues.
  • Mill owners insist that the reason behind their woes is excess production of sugar and fall in its price.
  • Under the circumstances, ethanol is the only real saviour — both for mills and cane growers.
  • Ethanol production has been additionally facilitated with the government mandating 10% blending of petrol with ethanol.

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Revised charging infra guidelines for electric vehicles

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : FAME India Scheme

Mains level : Facilitating early adoption of EVs in India


  • Power ministry has revised guidelines for setting up charging infra for EVs.

Why such move?

  • Lack of charging infrastructure is one of the main reasons behind poor adoption of electric mobility in India.
  • As the State Transport Units (STUs) have started operating electric busses on different routed lack of charging infrastructure has proven to be a significant road block.

Highlights of the revised guidelines

  • At least one Charging Station to be available in a grid of 3 Km x 3 Km in the cities and one Charging Station at every 25 Km on both sides of highways/roads.
  • All Mega Cities & expressways connected to these Mega Cities to be taken up for coverage in first phase, other big cities to be taken up in second phase.
  • For inter-city travel, Fast Charging Station to be installed at every 100 km.
  • Separate charging stations for heavy electric vehicles like buses or trucks after every 100 km on both sides of highways.
  • Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), a statutory body under Ministry of Power has been nominated as the Central Nodal Agency to facilitate installation of Charging Infrastructure.
  • These Revised Guidelines and Specifications for charging infrastructure shall supersede the earlier guidelines and standards.

By Explains

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Explained: Economics behind e-vehicle batteries

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Read the attached story

Mains level : Early adoption of EVs in India


Background

  • Shifting gears in the transition to electric vehicles (EVs), the NITI Aayog, in May this year, proposed to ban the sale of all internal combustion engine (ICE) powered three-wheelers post March 2023.
  • It also suggested that all new two-wheelers below 150cc sold after March 2025 should be electric.
  • In consonance with these proposals, the Union Budget announced tax incentives for early adopters.
  • The automobile industry had objected to the proposal and called for a practical approach in framing EV-related policies.
  • There has been the worry that EVs are still not financially viable because of various costs associated with their manufacture and use.

How are cost structures of conventional vehicles and electric vehicles different?

  • The portion of the costs of the drive train of EVs the system in a motor vehicle which connects the transmission to the drive axles in comparison to the cost of the entire vehicle is 4% lower compared to ICE vehicles.
  • This is primarily due to less part in the electric drive train.
  • However, the battery pack takes up nearly half the cost of an electric vehicle.
  • For any meaningful reduction in the physical value of EVs, the cost of battery packs needs to reduce significantly.

Components of a battery pack and their cost

  • The predominant battery chemistry used in EVs is lithium-ion batteries (Li-ion).
  • No new technologies are on the horizon for immediate commercial usage.
  • The cost of the materials or key-components of the battery, namely the cathode, anode, electrolyte, separator, among others, contribute the most (60%) to the total cost.
  • Any reduction in the cost of the battery pack will have to come from a reduction in materials cost or the manufacturing overhead.

How has the cost of the Li-ion battery pack cost evolved in the last decade?

  • The price of these battery packs has consistently fallen over the past few years.
  • This decrease is in part due to technological improvements, economies of scale and increased demand for lithium-ion batteries.
  • Fierce competition between major manufacturers has also been instrumental in bringing down prices.
  • The chart shows the change in the price of Li-ion batteries from 2010 to 2016. It is not clear if the battery cost can be reduced even further.
  • Given that raw materials account for 60% of the cost of the battery pack, the room for further cost reduction is rather limited.

Where does India stand on EV adoption?

  • In India, EV adoption will be driven by two-wheelers rather than cars in high numbers on because India’s mobility market is driven more by two wheelers.
  • According to the NITI Aayog, 79% of vehicles on Indian roads are two-wheelers.
  • Three-wheelers and cars that cost less than ₹10 lakh account for 4% and 12% of the vehicle population, respectively.
  • Two-wheelers will also need smaller batteries when compared to cars and hence the overall affordable cost.
  • India needs to manufacture Li-ion cells in-house. Now, cells are imported and “assembled” into batteries.
  • Setting up a Li-ion manufacturing unit requires high capital expenditure. But battery manufacturing in India is expected to grow as electric vehicles grow.

Are EV vehicles completely environment friendly?

  • In conventional ICEs, petrol or diesel fuels the engine.
  • However, in EVs, batteries are not the fuel; electrons supplied by the battery fuel the vehicle.
  • Presently, most of India’s electricity is generated using conventional sources.
  • In 2018-19, over 90% of India’s electricity was generated from conventional sources, including coal, and around 10% was produced from renewable sources such as solar, wind and biomass.
  • While the rate of electricity generated from renewable sources has increased over the years, more needs to be done for their adoption.
  • This is because the EV-charging infrastructure needs to be powered through renewable sources to make it truly sustainable.

By Explains

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Electric and Hybrid Cars – FAME, National Electric Mobility Mission, etc.

[op-ed snap] Why we need to look beyond the ‘electric’ smokescreen

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : E-vehicles : an analysis

CONTEXT

The obsession with electric mobility makes it look as if it is the only solution for India’s transportation problems.

What the government must do instead

  1. Bringing down the fuel import bill
  2. Bringing down air pollution

Do not push EVs

  1. We still cannot ensure a 24×7 electricity supply to hospitals. All our villages still do not have a reliable electricity supply.
  2. Close to 80% of the electricity generated is from coal and gas. Yet another 50,000MW of coal-fired power plants are being set up under the National Electricity Plan.
  3. More than 20% of all the electricity generated goes into “transmission and distribution losses”.
  4. Due to inadequate and irregular last-mile supply, close to 15 million tonnes of diesel is used by local generators to produce 80 billion KWh of electricity. 
  5. Close to $2 billion worth of battery storage capacity is imported every year.
  6. Most independent power plants operate at 12-15% below their declared capacity as they over-invoice plant costs. 
  7. There will be immense pressure on the power grid that is not yet fully reliable.

Other solutions available

  1. Air pollution – Construction dust, road dust, thermal power generation, diesel generators, traditional cooking fuels, stubble burning and open waste burning also contribute. Need action against each of these sources.
  2. Dependence on fossil fuels can be cut down not just by banning diesel, but by other more sane and immediate measures. Upgrade to the latest diesel-engine technology in public transport, reduce traffic congestion, ensure adequate power supply and get into diesel-blends.
  3. Ban all Bharat Stage 3 (BS3) vehicles and below. At once, close to 40% of all the 300 million vehicles on the roads will be gone. There’s no “vehicle scrappage policy”.
  4. Public transport
    1. Assure top-notch public transport in India’s top 24 cities. A multi-modal grid of trains, buses, taxis, three-wheelers and two-wheelers could achieve this.
    2. Incentivize the manufacture and purchase of public transport vehicles through lower GST and cheaper loans.
    3. Encourage greater use of public transport among citizens through redemption and loyalty programs. 
    4. Get all organizations with more than 100 employees to use bus fleets.
  5. Decongest the 60 top smart cities. They constitute almost 90% of our vehicular population and thus vehicular pollution. We need to focus on smoother traffic flow, better parking management and pedestrian movement. Close to 12% of vehicular fuel is wasted on idling and traffic snarls. 
  6. Expand the traffic police strength by four-five times in over-jammed cities.
  7. Create and mandate dedicated parking spots for shared mobility services.
  8. Create vast grids of pedestrian skywalks. Operate multi-level parking lots.

Each of these measures would show an immediate impact on vehicle-caused pollution and the use of fossil fuels.

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[pib] National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : FAME India Scheme

Mains level : Early adoption of EVs in India

NEMMP 2020

  • The National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020 is a National Mission document providing the vision and the roadmap for the faster adoption of electric vehicles and their manufacturing in the country.
  • This plan has been designed to enhance national fuel security, to provide affordable and environmentally friendly transportation and to enable the Indian automotive industry to achieve global manufacturing leadership.

Other initiatives

  • As part of the NEMMP 2020, Department of Heavy Industry formulated FAME India Scheme in the year 2015.
  • It was aimed to promote manufacturing of electric and hybrid vehicle technology and to ensure sustainable growth of the same.

FAME I

  • In this phase, market creation through demand incentives was aimed at incentivizing all vehicle segments i.e. 2-Wheelers, 3-Wheelers Auto, Passenger 4-Wheeler vehicles, Light Commercial Vehicles and Buses.
  • The demand incentive was available to buyers of EV in the form of an upfront reduced purchase price to enable wider adoption.
  • Based on outcome and experience gained during the Phase-II of FAME India Scheme was launched.

FAME II

  • This phase will mainly focus on supporting electrification of public & shared transportation, and aims to support through subsidies 7000 e-Buses, 5 lakh e-3 Wheelers, 55000 e-4 Wheeler Passenger Cars and 10 lakh e-2 Wheelers.
  • The scheme will be applicable mainly to vehicles used for public transport or those registered for commercial purposes in e-3W, e-4W and e-bus segments.
  • However, privately owned registerede-2W will also be covered under the scheme as a mass segment.
  • In addition, creation of charging infrastructure will be supported in selected cities and along major highways to address range anxiety among users of electric vehicles.

Assist this newscard with:

[pib] Technical Analysis of FAME II Scheme 

By Explains

Explain the News

Electric and Hybrid Cars – FAME, National Electric Mobility Mission, etc.

[pib] Technical Analysis of FAME II Scheme 

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : FAME II

Mains level : Issues related to the (possible) early adoption of the EVs in India.

  • The NITI Aayog and the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) has released a report on opportunities for the automobile sector and government under the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles II (FAME II) scheme.

India’s Electric Mobility Transformation

  • The report is titled ‘India’s Electric Mobility Transformation: Progress to Date and Future Opportunities’.
  • It quantifies the direct oil and carbon savings that the vehicles incentivized under FAME II will deliver.
  • According to the analysis, if FAME II and other measures – in public and private space – are successful, India could realize EV sales penetration of 30% of private cars, 70% of commercial cars, 40% of buses and 80% of two and three-wheelers by 2030.
  • For example, achieving these levels of market share by 2030 could generate cumulative savings of 846million tonnes of CO2 over the total deployed vehicles’ lifetime.

Key highlights from the report:

  • The electric buses covered under FAME II will account for 3.8 billion vehicle kilometers travelled (e-vkt) over their lifetime
  • In order to capture the potential opportunity in 2030, batteries must remain a key focal point as they will continue to be the key cost driver of EVs.
  • EVs sold through 2030 could cumulatively save 474 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) worth INR 15 lakh crore and generate net CO2 savings of 846 million tonnes over their operational lifetime.

What more is needed?

  • India needs auto industry’s active participation to ease electric mobility transition.
  • The auto and battery industries could collaborate to enhance customer awareness, promote domestic manufacturing, promote new business models, consider new business models to promote EVs
  • Government should focus on a phased manufacturing plan to promote EVs, provide fiscal and non-fiscal incentives for phased manufacturing of EVs and batteries.

To read more about FAME II Scheme, navigate to the page:

Second phase of fame to electrify public transport

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Electric and Hybrid Cars – FAME, National Electric Mobility Mission, etc.

[pib] NuGen Mobility Summit 2019

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NuGen Mobility Summit

Mains level : Issues related to adoption of the EVs in India

News

NuGen Mobility Summit, 2019

  • The International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT) is organizing a NuGen Mobility Summit, 2019, at Manesar, NCR.
  • The objective of the Summit is to share new ideas, learnings, global experiences, innovations and future technology trends for faster adoption, assimilation and development of advanced automotive technologies for a smarter and greener future.
  • The event aims to bring together the automotive OEMs, professionals, researchers, academic experts, vehicle system suppliers, test equipment supplier, quality managers, product planners, component developers, SAE members and students from all over the world.

About ICAT

  • The International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT), Manesar, located in the northern automotive hub of India, is a leading world class automotive testing, certification and R&D service provider under the aegis of NATRiP (National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project).
  • It is a division of NATRIP Implementation Society (NATIS) under the Department of Heavy Industries, Government of India.
  • It provides services for testing, validation, design and homologation of all categories of vehicles.
  • It has a mission to assist the automotive industry in adopting cutting edge technologies in vehicle evaluation and component development in new generation mobility solutions.

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Electric and Hybrid Cars – FAME, National Electric Mobility Mission, etc.

National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: About the mission

Mains level:  Issues related to the (possible) early adoption of the EVs in India.


News

  • The Union Cabinet has approved setting up of National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage to drive clean, connected, shared and sustainable mobility initiatives in the country.
  • It also approved a Phased Manufacturing Program to support large-scale, export-competitive integrated batteries and cell-manufacturing giga plants in India, to localize production across the electric vehicles value chain.

About the Mission

  • It entails creation of a phased manufacturing programme (PMP) valid for five years till 2024 to support setting up of a few large scale, export competitive integrated batteries and cell manufacturing Giga plants in India.
  • To implement gigawatt-scale battery manufacturing, a National Storage Mission will initially focus on large-scale module and pack assembly plants during the fiscal year that starts next month, followed by integrated cell manufacturing by 2021-22.
  • It will prepare a roadmap for India to leverage its size to produce innovative, competitive multi-modal mobility solutions to be deployed globally.

Why such move?

  • India has a significant market potential for batteries and electric vehicles.
  • Electric vehicles are creating a big demand and due to this demand, the cost of batteries will further come down.
  • IESA estimates the market for energy storage would grow to over 300 GWh during 2018-25.
  • It is working with various EV and charging infrastructure companies through its MOVE – Moving Onwards with Vehicle Electrification – initiative to catalyze the adoption, through indigenous manufacturing, of EV components.
  • Currently, more than ten companies are engaged in module and li-ion pack assembly in India and we expect four to five large companies to enter cell manufacturing in the next two to three years.
  • With appropriate policy support through this mission, Indian companies will be able to diversify into energy storage business.

Terms of reference

  • The programme will provide a plan which will send a clear signal to the industry to make the necessary investments in capacity to localize the value chain.
  • The creation of a PMP would localize production along the entire electric vehicles value chain.
  • The mission will have an inter-ministerial steering committee chaired by Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant.
  • The mission will also coordinate with key stakeholders in ministries/ departments and states to integrate various initiatives to transform mobility in India.

By Explains

Explain the News

Electric and Hybrid Cars – FAME, National Electric Mobility Mission, etc.

Second phase of fame to electrify public transport

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: FAME Scheme

Mains level:  Issues related to the (possible) early adoption of the EVs in India.


News

  • The second phase of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (hybrid) Electric vehicles (FAME) scheme will come into force from April 1, 2019 with the Union Cabinet nod.
  • The scheme will be in effect for a period of three years at a proposed budget of Rs 10,000 crore.

FAME India II Scheme

  • The scheme is the expanded version of the present scheme titled ‘FAME India 1’ which was launched in April 2015.
  • The phase two of the scheme plans to support ten lakhs electric two-wheelers, five lakhs electric three-wheelers, 55 thousands four-wheelers and 7,000 buses.
  • The main objective is to encourage faster adoption of EVs by way of offering upfront incentive on the purchase and also by way of establishing a necessary charging Infrastructure.
  • The largely increased allocation for the new phase is a sign of the critical importance that India’s policy makers are currently placing on shifting to an all-electric Indian mobility sector.

Focus areas

  • In this phase two, emphasis is on electrification of the public transportation that includes shared transport.
  • The second phase will also not provide any incentive for passenger cars used for personal use.
  • In the two-wheelers segment, however, the focus will be on the private vehicles.
  • Demand Incentives on operational expenditure mode for electric buses will be delivered through State/city transport corporation (STUs).
  • In 3W and 4W segment incentives will be applicable mainly to vehicles used for public transport or registered for commercial purposes.
  • To encourage advanced technologies, the benefits of incentives will be extended to only those vehicles which are fitted with advanced batteries like a Lithium Ion.

Necessary charging infrastructure

  • It also proposes for establishment of charging infrastructure, whereby about 2700 charging stations will be established in metros, other million-plus cities, smart cities and cities of hilly states across the country.
  • It will ensure availability of at least one charging station in a grid of 3 km x 3 km.

Impact

  • Inclusion of buses, taxi and e-rickshaws under Fame 2 will play a critical role to promote EVs.
  • The transition to electric buses is expected to not only help reduce carbon footprint but also save fuel.

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Electric and Hybrid Cars – FAME, National Electric Mobility Mission, etc.

Govt issues guidelines to set up EV charging stations

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Byelaws for EV charging

Mains level:  Issues related to the (possible) early adoption of the EVs in India.


News

  • In line with the 2030 deadline of 25 percent of vehicles in India to be all-electric, the government has issued new guidelines for strengthening the country EV infrastructure.

New Byelaws for EVs

  1. The MoHUA has made amendments to the Model Building Byelaws (MBBL) 2016 and Urban Regional Development Plans Formulation and Implementation (URDPFI) Guidelines 2014, making provisions for establishing EV charging infrastructure.
  2. The guidelines will act as a guiding document to the state governments and UTs to incorporate the norms and standards of such vehicles in their respective building byelaws.

Charging Stations

  1. It has issued a set of guidelines to set up charging stations for electric vehicles across the country, outlining ways to build such fuelling points every 25 km.
  2. For long range and heavy-duty electric vehicles, there should be at least one station on each side of the highway every 100 kilometers.
  3. The government has also advocated for charging points in residential areas.
  4. It also stated a public charging station should be on both sides of the highways or roads on every 25 km.

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