New Delhi: Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan has expressed the government’s commitment to time-bound execution of initiatives to introduce ethanol-blended petrol and bio-diesel in the country. Inaugurating a national seminar on “Lignocellulose to Ethanol: Roadmap for India” in New Delhi, he said that oil marketing companies have already invited bids for 120 crore litre of ethanol for blending in petrol for sugar in the year 2015-16, which would be 5% (approximately) of the country’s total petrol consumption.
Listing out the benefits of using ethanol blended petrol, Pradhan said that it would not only help in value addition for the farmer’s produce but will also reduce foreign exchange expenditure. He said that added benefits of blended petrol would be in the form of employment generation, entrepreneurship promotion and environment protection. He said that ethanol- blended petrol was introduced in 2003 but the process got impetus only in 2014-15 when the new NDA government took policy decisions to incentivize petrol blending.
The minister said that there is a demand for ethanol for blending with petrol but there are technological and financial challenges which needs to be overcome. The petroleum minister called upon various departments of the government, State governments, academic and research institutions to work together to find solutions to these challenges.
Pradhan said that molasses-to-ethanol conversion was already going on and the government had taken up second generation of lignocelluloses-to-ethanol production to utilize agricultural residues and wastes, and achieve the target of 10% ethanol blending.
The seminar was aimed at accelerating the EBP programme in the country and to draw up a roadmap for establishing ethanol industry from lignocellulosic route thus reducing the foreign exchange outflow, generate rural employment and protect environment.