Indian sugarcane fields could yield a flex-fuel bonanza

Source: The post is based on the article Indian sugarcane fields could yield a flex-fuel bonanzapublished in Live Mint on 26th October 2022. 

Syllabus: GS 3 – Environment 

Relevance: Benefits of ethanol blending 

News: This article discusses the benefits of ethanol blending in Brazil and measures that need to be adopted by India for ethanol blending fuel.

About the ethanol blending in Brazil

Ethanol-blended petrol was first used in Brazil after the deployment of flex-fuel technology. Brazilian ethanol is produced from sugarcane. It is one of the world’s leading producers of sugar ethanol and one of the world’s largest producers of sugarcane. 

The ethanol produced from sugarcane in Brazil has a much higher energy balance than corn-based ethanol produced by the US.  Today, around 93% of the vehicles in Brazil are capable of running on ethanol. 

The benefits of ethanol blending in Brazil are,  

Ethanol emits between 44% and 52% less greenhouse gas emissions as compared to petrol. So, when it is combined with petrol it significantly reduces the CO2 emissions of a vehicle.  

a) Helped Brazil in reducing the contribution of CO2 equivalents into the atmosphere, b) It is highly efficient and most facilities use the residual waste from the process (bagasse) for power and c) In 2020, around 5% of the total power consumption of the country was met by bio-electricity generated from bagasse. 

Read more: Govt’s ethanol blending programme faces supply and pricing problem
What are the challenges in sugar ethanol production?

Very few other countries can produce sugar ethanol because sugarcane needs to be converted into ethanol within 24 hours of harvesting else it spoils. 

Therefore, all sugar ethanol production plants have to be located in the centre of the fields from which they get their raw material. 

Must read: What is ethanol blending? Highlight the challenges of 20% ethanol blended fuel.
How India can produce ethanol? 

India is a major sugarcane producer like Brazil and it is one of the very few countries in the world that can adapt its fuel supply to incorporate ethanol. 

Therefore, India needs to adopt production techniques like Brazil and mandate that all internal combustion engine vehicles be redesigned to incorporate flex-fuel technology to use ethanol blended fuel. 

This will eventually help India to reduce CO2 emissions and help achieve India to fulfil its environmental targets. 

Moreover, India’s Union minister for transport launched the country’s first flex-fuel car that was capable of running on petrol, ethanol or any mixture of the two.

Read more: Understanding India’s ethanol blending policy

However, ethanol is not a complete solution to the climate challenges of the world but it is a great step towards achieving a sustainable future.

Print Friendly and PDF