India has been making significant efforts to promote cleaner fuel solutions for years now, and one such innovation that has recently been launched is the E20 fuel. The fuel is a blend of 20% ethanol and 80% petrol, which is expected to be less polluting and also help the government reduce its dependence on oil imports.
The Indian government has set a target of achieving 20% ethanol blending in petrol by 2025, and it is expected that investments of up to ₹41,000 crore will be made to achieve this target. The country aims to reach the 10% ethanol blending target by 2022, and with the launch of E20 fuel, it is moving closer to its renewable energy mission of 2030.
The launch of E20 fuel in Bengaluru is a significant step towards promoting cleaner fuel solutions in the country. Among 15 cities across India we will get E20 fuel through Indian Oil Corporation outlets in the first phase, two months ahead of the Centre’s initial rollout plan for April. In the next two years, the fuel’s retailing would be expanded throughout the country.
What is E20?
E20 fuel is a blend of 20% ethanol and 80% petrol. Ethanol or ethyl alcohol, is an organic compound extracted from renewable sources such as corn, sugarcane, wheat, barley, and other grains. Ethanol blending helps to lower harmful emissions such as nitrogen oxide (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), and hydrocarbons (HC). This makes E20 fuel a good way to move towards eco-friendly and cost-effective fuels.
Indian studies on the suitability of using E20 in existing vehicles found that metals and metal coatings had no issue with E20. Elastomers had inferior performance with E20 compared to neat gasoline. Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP) and Indian Oil Corporation (R&D), who did the research in 2014-15, also found that fuel economy decreased by up to 6% (depending on the vehicle type), on average.
Joint studies reported by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Honda R&D indicate improvement in relative efficiency up to 20% can be achieved with E20 compared with normal gasoline when the engine is properly tuned. Trials by Ford Motor Company concluded an engine optimized for E20 fuel showed comparable volumetric fuel economy (mileage) and range (kilometers travelled on a single fill) of normal gasoline with a CO2 reduction of 5%.
Lunch of E20 fuel
The ethanol blending program has seen a six times increase in ethanol production capacity since 2013-14. Achievements under the program have not only augmented India’s energy security but have also resulted in a host of other benefits, including a reduction of 318 lakh metric tonnes of CO2 emissions and foreign exchange savings of around Rs 54,000 crore. As a result, there has been payment of around Rs 81,800 crore towards ethanol supplies during 2014 to 2022 and transfer of more than Rs 49,000 crore to farmers.
The Indian government has launched E20 fuel at 84 retail outlets of Oil Marketing Companies in 11 states/UTs. The aim is to achieve a complete 20% blending of ethanol by 2025, and oil marketing companies are setting up 2G-3G ethanol plants to facilitate progress. The Ethanol Blending program is a key focus area of the Indian government to achieve energy independence.
What effects does E20 have in your vehicle?
The debate over whether E20 fuel is harmful to engines has been raging for some time now. While there is no definite answer to this question, it is important for drivers to understand the potential risks and benefits of using E20 fuel. While E20 fuel can provide improved performance in some vehicles due to its higher octane rating and reduced emissions, it also has potential risks and downsides that should be considered before making the switch.
One of the primary concerns with using E20 fuel is its corrosive properties. Ethanol can corrode certain materials within an engine, such as rubber seals, gaskets, and plastic components. This can lead to engine damage if used improperly or in an unsuitable vehicle. In addition, ethanol tends to absorb water more quickly than gasoline does, which can lead to rusting issues over time. Using too much ethanol in a vehicle’s fuel system can also cause clogging, leading to engine failure or other problems.
Another significant issue associated with using E20 fuel is its impact on fuel efficiency. Reports suggest that mileage can take a hit when using E20 fuel in a vehicle, with higher levels of ethanol blending in petrol impacting fuel efficiency by 6-7%. This means that the fuel your car took to run 100km will now make it go just about 93-94km, which is a significant reduction in fuel efficiency. This reduction in fuel efficiency can increase the total cost of ownership for vehicles that transition from E10 to E20 compliant designs.
However, some automakers are looking at technological improvements like light-weighting to offset the impact on fuel efficiency. They are designing cars with lighter materials that can reduce overall weight, thereby increasing fuel efficiency.
In addition, operating E10-compliant vehicles with E20 fuel would result in the corrosion of certain engine components. This means that the corroded parts will have to be replaced, increasing the maintenance cost for vehicle owners. It is, therefore, important for drivers who are considering using E20 biofuel to do their research first and consult with their vehicle manufacturer to determine if their vehicle is compatible with E20 fuel.
In conclusion, E20 fuel has both pros and cons. It can provide improved performance and reduced emissions, but it can also cause engine damage if used improperly, reduce fuel efficiency, and increase maintenance costs. Vehicle owners should carefully consider these factors before making any decisions about their fueling system needs. It is essential to consult with their vehicle manufacturer and perform regular preventative maintenance tasks to minimize the risk of engine damage or other problems related to using this type of fuel blend.
What are the advantages and challenges associated with E20 fuel
The Indian government’s decision to introduce E20 fuel – a blend of petrol and 20% ethanol extracted from sugarcane and damaged plant grains – has been lauded by many for its potential benefits. Here, we look at the advantages and challenges associated with this new fuel.
- Reduction in pollution level: E20 fuel is known for being less polluting. When used on a mass scale, this will help in bringing down the pollution level, thereby improving air quality and public health.
- Reduction in import dependency: India currently imports 85% of its total fuel, which results in a huge bill for crude oil. By using 20% ethanol blended fuel, the country will save a lot of money, reducing import dependency on fuels.
- Job creation: The implementation of new technology means there will be opportunities for job creation in the OEM’s and their component suppliers and aftermarket service providing segments. Also E20 fuel can help create jobs in the renewable energy sector as companies look for ways to improve their efficiency standards with new technologies and practices.
- Increased income for farmers: The Indian government claims that achieving the target of 20% ethanol in petrol will help the agriculture sector. The government asserts that farmers will see increased income because of this policy.
- Potential to significantly reduce pollution: Because of its lower environmental impact, biofuel is increasingly gaining popularity. If used on a large enough scale, this has the potential to significantly reduce pollution.
- Cost savings: The use of petrol with a 20% ethanol mix in India would result in significant cost savings for the nation.
- Improved health and wellbeing: E20 fuel will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions while increasing air quality throughout the country. This will benefit India’s healthcare system as well as its citizens’ overall wellbeing – something that cannot be understated in a time where air pollution has become an ever-growing concern.
- Consumer acceptance of new technology: Ethanol blended petrol is not something that consumers are very much aware of. The anxiety about using new technology will remain a concern for sure.
- Investment required: A new technology implementation on a mass scale certainly requires a huge sum of investment from the industry stakeholders. After spending a huge amount of money on BS-VI migration from BS-IV in record time, it will be hard for the auto industry stakeholders to invest another huge sum.
- Disruption due to Covid-19: With the Covid-19 pandemic disrupting the auto industry operations, achieving the target by the set deadline could be a real challenge.
- Affordability for the customer: Unless the question of affordability of cars for the customer is addressed, it is unlikely that the car industry will revive with ICEs, CNG, biofuels or EVs.
The 20 percent Ethanol in E20 fuel is a biofuel extracted from sugarcane and damaged plant grains. Thus, it is much more renewable than fossil fuels, petrol and diesel. There is no doubt that this is a more sustainable fuel. Plus, it burns cleaner. And, with millions of litres of fuel burning on a daily basis, the 20 percent blend that burns cleaner is always appreciated. This will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and benefit public health.
With Electric Vehicles also around the corner, India is positively moving towards a cleaner, more sustainable model. The mission to move a majority of energy consumption to renewable sources by 2030 is coming to reality with steps like E20 fuel blending and promotion of EV