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Ethanol-blending in petrol rises to record 6.2%

A combination of measures by the Modi government appears to have boosted the purchase of the biofuel over the years.

, ET Bureau|
Jun 26, 2019, 08.35 PM IST
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The government aims to achieve 10% blending percentage of ethanol in petrol by 2022 to cut dependence on energy import.
NEW DELHI: Ethanol-blending in petrol has risen to a record 6.2% this year, rising nearly tenfold in six years, in a sign that the policy interventions of recent years have paid off.

A combination of measures by the Modi government, that included setting higher prices for ethanol, simplifying its purchase, and encouraging oil companies to buy more ethanol, appears to have boosted the purchase of the biofuel over the years.

The government aims to achieve 10% blending percentage of ethanol in petrol by 2022 to cut dependence on energy import, promote the use of environment-friendly fuel and boost the agriculture sector.

“Ethanol blending percentage as on 17th June 2019 has increased to 6.20% as compared to 0.67% in supply year 2012-13,” Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Twitter on Wednesday. Ethanol blending was 0.67% in 2012-13, 1.53% in 2013-14, 2.33% in 2014-15, 3.51% in 2015-16, and 4.22% in 2017-18.

Similarly, ethanol purchase for the blending programme has risen from 15.4 crore litre in 2012-13 to 38 crore litre in 2013-14, 67.4 crore litre in 2014-15, 111.4 crore litre in 2015-16 and 150.5 crore litre in 2017-18. About 127.5 crore litre of ethanol had already been purchased by June 17, 2019 in the current ethanol supply year. Oil marketing companies have allocated 268.73 crore litres for the full year 2018-19. The ethanol supply year begins in October.

The government has been exploring an alternate route of encouraging production of second generation (2G) ethanol from biomass and other wastes to bridge the supply gap for ethanol blending programme.

“Setting up of 2G Bio-refineries will help reduce crop burning by converting agricultural residues to ethanol which will help in reducing pollution and ensure a cleaner environment. This will also boost rural economy, create new jobs and provide additional income to farmers,” Pradhan said.

In February, the Cabinet had approved a scheme to provide Rs 1969 crore as viability gap funding to 2G ethanol projects over the next six years. Under the scheme, called the Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN Yojana, Rs 1800 crore has been allocated for supporting 12 commercial projects, Rs 150 crore for 10 demonstration projects and the balance Rs 9.50 crore for the administrative expense by the Centre for High Technology (CHT), an Oil Ministry arm that would oversee the scheme.
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