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MUMBAI (ICIS)–India expects to begin a phased roll-out of 20% ethanol-blended auto fuel by 1 April, and the fuel will be available at select outlets initially.
The proposed roll-out will give further impetus to the government’s plans of achieving 20% ethanol blending in auto fuel across the country by 2025-2026, India’s petroleum and natural gas minister Hardeep Singh Puri said at the Auto Expo 2023 on 13 January.
The ongoing automobile exhibition in Noida in the northern Uttar Pradesh state is organized by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), Automotive Components Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
“We have increased ethanol blending in petrol from 1.53% in 2013-14 to 10.17% in June 2022, which was well ahead of the November 2022 deadline,” Puri said.
The government expected to achieve 12% ethanol blending in 2023, he said.
To achieve 20% ethanol blending by 2025, India requires a production capacity of around 14.5bn litres/year.
To speed up the country’s ethanol output, the government is providing various incentives to producers such as loans and faster clearance to new projects, Puri said, adding that India also plans to launch a global alliance on biofuels with the US and Brazil.
The Indian government was also studying a proposal to establish ethanol-blended fuel pumps across the country to ensure easy availability of the fuel by 2025, India’s road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari said at the automobile exhibition.
The automobile industry has been pro-active in supporting the government’s vision of creating an ethanol economy, the SIAM said in a statement over the weekend.
The government has asked the group to promote ethanol as a transportation fuel and has asked car manufacturers to ensure that their engines are compliant to run on 20% ethanol-blended fuel (E20) by 2025.
“We are now aligned for rolling out E20 material-compliant vehicles from April 2023 and production of E20-tuned engine vehicles from April 2025 and the Indian automobile industry has developed products to enable this shift,” SIAM president Vinod Aggarwal said on 14 January.
At the exhibition, India’s largest car manufacturer Maruti Suzuki India has showcased a flex-fuel prototype of India’s first mass-market flex fuel car which is designed to run on any ethanol-petrol blend between 20% (E20) and 85% (E85) fuel.
Two-wheeler companies in India including Hero MotoCorp, Honda, Yamaha, Bajaj and Japanese bike maker Suzuki are also showcasing their flex fuel models at the Auto Expo.
The automotive industry is a major global consumer of petrochemicals, which account for more than a third of the raw material costs of an average vehicle.
Auto Expo 2023 runs until 18 January.
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