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PANIPAT : Oil Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, in the inaugural event of second-generation ethanol plan, set up in the Panipat Refinery and Petrochemical Complex (PRPC) by Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) stated that by April next year, India will start supplying petrol with 20 per cent ethanol at selected petrol pumps. The step is aimed towards cutting oil import dependence and addressing environmental issues.

He further said that the supply will ramp up thereafter and E20 petrol (petrol blended with 20 per cent ethanol) will be supplied throughout by 2025.

India has achieved the target of supplying petrol mixed with 10 per cent ethanol ahead of schedule in June this year. Thus the target of making petrol with 20 per cent ethanol has also been advanced by five years to 2025.

Originally doping petrol with 10 per cent ethanol was a target scheduled for November this year. Ethanol for blending is being extracted from sugarcane and other agri-commodities.

On the occasion of World Biofuel Day on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was present at the inaugural event virtually, dedicated the 2nd generation (2G) ethanol plant at Panipat. The plant is part of a long series of steps taken by the government over the years to boost the production and use of biofuels in the country.

Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has built the plant at a cost of over 900 crore near the firm's Panipat refinery. It will turn about 2 lakh tonnes of rice straw (parali) annually into around 3 crore litres of ethanol.

PM while inaugurating the plant said, creating an end-use for the agri-crop residue would empower farmers and provide an additional income generation opportunity for them.

The project will have zero liquid discharge and through the reduction in the burning of rice straw, the project will contribute to a reduction of greenhouse gases equivalent to about 3 lakh tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions per annum.

Oil minister hardeep Puri while mentioning the gains from ethanol blended petrol said, 10 per cent ethanol blend translated into a forex impact of over 41,500 crore, reduced greenhouse gas emissions of 27 lakh tonnes and also led to farmers being paid over 40,600 crore expeditiously.

After the US, Brazil, EU and China, India is the world's fifth largest producer of ethanol. Largely used for consumption worldwide, nations like Brazil and India also use ethanol to dope it in petrol.

Annual savings of $4 billion annually are being expected from petrol with 20 per cent ethanol. Moreover, this increased blending will expand the use of renewable energy in the world's third-biggest oil importer and consumer, and help turn the nation's surplus rice and damaged food grains into ethanol.

The rise in ethanol blending in India

Ethanol blending in petrol has risen successively from 1.53% in 2013-14 to 5% in 2019-20 to 8.10% in 2020-21 and now to as much as 10.17 %.

Prime Minister counting the benefits of ethanol dopiung in petrol mentioned that, the blending of ethanol not just curbs vehicular pollution but also reduces import dependency and increases farmer income. It saves precious foreign exchange that is spent on importing crude oil.

As per the data from oil ministry, 2 million tonnes of crude oil was substituted due to the blending of ethanol in petrol during the first three and half months of the current fiscal year that began in April. In 2020-21.

In FY 2019-20, 2.14 million tonnes and in FY 2018-19, 201.34 million tonnes of crude oil was substituted by ethanol blending. The volume was 0.27 million tonnes in 2013-14.

The highest ever quantity of 306.43 crore litres of ethanol has been procured by oil marketing companies in the current ethanol supply year (December 2021 to November 2022). This is up from 302.3 crore litre last year and 173 crore litre in 2019-20. Ethanol supply for mixing with petrol was 38 crore litre in 2013-14.

For a 20 per cent blend, 1,000 crore litres of ethanol will be required.

As the availability of ethanol increases, the equivalent amount of crude import is reduced.

To incentivise blending of ethanol, the Centre had announced an additional duty of 2 per litre on un-blended fuels starting October 2022, which will no longer be effective as the target of 10 per cent blend has been achieved.

With inputs from PTI.

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