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      Ethanol is a clear, colorless liquid with a characteristic, agreeable odor.

      In dilute aqueous solution, it has a somewhat sweet flavor, but in more concentrated solutions it has a burning taste.

      Ethanol melts at -114.1°C, boils at 78.5°C, and has a typical density of 0.789 g/ml at 20°C.

      Ethanol has been made since ancient times by the fermentation of sugars.

      All the beverage ethanol, and more than half of industrial ethanol, is still made by this process.

      Simple sugars are the raw materials.

      Enzyme from yeast, changes the simple sugars into ethanol and carbon dioxide.

      Starches from potatoes, corn, wheat, and other plants can also be used in the production of ethanol by fermentation.

      The starches must first be broken down into simple sugars.

      An enzyme released by germinating barley, diastase, converts starches into sugars.

      The germination of barley, called malting, is the first step in brewing beer from starchy plants, such as corn (maize) and wheat.

      Ethanol as a fuel

      Ethanol is used as an automotive fuel by itself and can be mixed with gasoline to form gasohol.

      The most common blends contain 10% ethanol and 85% ethanol mixed with gasoline.

      Because the ethanol molecule contains oxygen, it allows the engine to more completely combust the fuel, resulting in fewer emissions.

      Since ethanol is produced from plants that harness the power of the sun, ethanol is also considered a renewable fuel.

      Ethanol has many advantages as an automotive fuel.

      Most industrial ethanol is denatured to prevent its use as a beverage.

      Denatured ethanol contains small amounts, 1 or 2 percent each, of several different unpleasant or poisonous substances.

      These denaturants render ethanol unfit for some industrial uses.

      In such industries indentured ethanol is used under close government supervision

      Trends in other countries

      Other countries are either producing and using ethanol in large quantities or are providing incentives to expand ethanol production and use.

      Brazil & Sweden are using large quantities of ethanol as a fuel.

      Some Canadian provinces promote ethanol use as a fuel by offering subsidies.

      In France, ethanol is produced from grapes that are of insufficient quality for wine production.

      Prompted by the increase in oil prices in the 1970s,

      Brazil introduced a program to produce ethanol for use in automobiles in order to reduce oil imports.

      Brazilian ethanol is made mainly from sugar cane.

      Pure ethanol (100% ethanol) is used in approximately 40 percent of the cars in Brazil.

      The remaining vehicles use blends of 24 % ethanol with 76 % Petrol (gasoline).

      In addition to consumption, Brazil also exports ethanol to other countries.

      Indian Initiatives

      India initiated the use of ethanol as an automotive fuel in the year 2003.

      With a view to give boost to agriculture sector and reduce environmental pollution,

      Government of India has been examining the supply of ethanol doped-petrol in the country.

      In order to ascertain financial and operational aspects of blending 5% ethanol with petrol as allowed in the specifications of Bureau of Indian Standards for petrol. 

      Government had launched three pilot projects; two in Maharashtra and one in Uttar Pradesh during April and June 2001. 

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      Apart from the aforesaid field through pilot projects, R & D studies also were undertaken simultaneously.

      Both pilot projects and R & D studies were successful and established blending of ethanol up to 5% with petrol and usage of ethanol-doped petrol in vehicles.

      Discussions were held with concerned agencies including the Governments of major sugar producing States.

      While the Society for Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) had confirmed the acceptance for use of 5% ethanol doped- petrol in vehicles. 

      State Governments of major sugar producing States and the representatives of sugar/distillery industries had confirmed availability /capacity to produce ethanol.

      Expert Committee on Ethanol Blending

      Indian Government had set up an Expert Group headed by the Executive Director of the Centre for High Technology for examining various options of blending ethanol with petrol at terminals/depots.

      Considering the logistical and financial advantages, this Group had recommended blending of ethanol with petrol at supply locations (terminals / depots) of oil companies.

      In view of the above, Government vide the Gazette notification of 3rdSeptember, 2002 No. P-45018/28/2000-C.C had mandated that with effect from 1-1-2003, 5% ethanol-doped petrol will be supplied in following nine States and four contiguous Union Territories of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Pondicherry, Daman & Diu, Goa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli & Chandigarh.

      This was the beginning of ethanol implementation in 1stphase.

      Government of India further announced to implement the Ethanol programme in 2nd phase.

      This was intended to supply ethanol bended Gasoline across the country effective the year 2006 and in 3rd phase switching over from the existing 5% to 10% blending of ethanol in selected states.

      With implementation of the 5% Ethanol-Blended Petrol (EBP) programme throughout the country still a distant dream due to various complications like ethanol shortages, the variable taxation structure of state governments and regulatory restrictions, the petroleum ministry has decided to defer the proposed rollout of mandatory 10% blending of ethanol, which was expected to take place from October, 2008 onwards.

      Ethanol Shortages

      Teething problems in the 5% EBP programme are primarily on account of the shortage of ethanol at various locations across the country.

      Even in states where blending has taken off in full swing, it has been seen that ethanol supply has not been adequate to meet demand.

      Even supply locations in UP and Uttarakhand where supplies have been satisfactory so far are now facing a shortfall of ethanol.

      Mandatory blending of 10% ethanol in petrol has now been shelved until satisfactory completion of a pilot study on E-10, which is being undertaken jointly by the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP), and the oil PSUs.

      The study is expected to be completed by June, 2009.

      The dominant factor in the production of ethanol & its implementation in India is the price and availability of molasses. The dynamics of molasses/ ethanol industry may be better understood in terms of Indian control policies.

      The Central government sets the policy regarding the ethanol blending but the State governments have their tax structures & also controls on the movements of the molasses and often restricts the movement of molasses to other states.

      The petroleum industry however looks very committe to the use of ethanol as fuel, as it is expecte to benefit sugarcane farmers as well as the oil industry in the long run.

      Ethanol can also be produce from wheat, corn, beet, sweet sorghum etc.

      Ethanol is one of the best tools to fight vehicular pollution, contains 35% oxygen that helps complete combustion of fuel and thus reduces harmful tailpipe emissions.

      It also reduces particulate emissions that pose a health hazard.



      Bio-diesel is a liquid fuel made up of fatty acid alkyl esters, fatty acid methyl esters (FAME), or long-chain mono alkyl esters.

      It is produce from renewable sources such as new and use vegetable oils and animal fats and is a cleaner-burning replacement for petroleum-based diesel fuel.

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      It is nontoxic and biodegradable.

      Biodiesel has physical properties similar to those of petroleum diesel.

      Like petroleum diesel, bio-diesel is use to fuel compression-ignition (diesel) engines.

      Bio-diesel production

      Bio-diesel can be made from new or used vegetable oils and animal fats, which are nontoxic, biodegradable, and renewable.

      Fats and oils are chemically react with an alcohol (methanol is most commonly use) to produce chemical compounds known as fatty acid methyl esters.

      Bio-diesel is the name given to these esters when they are intend for use as fuel. Glycerin (used in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, among other markets) is produce as a co-product.

      Bio-diesel can be produce using a variety of trans-esterification technologies.

      The oils and fats are filter and preprocess to remove water and contaminants.

      If free fatty acids are present, they can be remove or transformed into bio-diesel using special pretreatment technologies.

      The pretreat oils and fats are then mixed with an alcohol (usually methanol) and a catalyst (usually sodium hydroxide).

      The oil molecules (triglycerides) are broken apart and reform into methyl esters and glycerin, which are then separated from each other and purified.

      Diesel engines are expensive, and it is not worth risking damage or even minor operational problems from fuel that does not meet rigorous BIS/EN/ASTM specifications.

      The raw/straight vegetable oils (triglycerides) can not be in a diesel engine because they are much more viscous than bio-diesel, Even the lowlevel vegetable oil blends can cause long-term engine deposits, ring sticking, lube oil gelling, and other maintenance problems that can reduce engine life.

      National Mission of Bio-diesel

      In April 2003, the committee on development of Bio-fuel, under the auspices of the Planning Commission of India, presented its report that recommends a major multidimensional programme to replace 20% of diesel by Bio-diesel, produced mainly from non-edible Jatropha oil, a smaller part from Pongomia.

      This is target has to be achieve by the year 2013.

      To achieve this eleven millions hectares of presently unuse lands are to be cultivated with Jatropha across the country.

      Announcements and discussion of Biodiesel program have already now brought numerous institutions, private investors and some farmers to prepare and even start with work on a major Jatropha program.

      The move towards large-scale utilization of Jatropha is thus mainly coming from the energy discussion, with its increasing environmental and health burden and foreign exchange cost.

      In March 2004 a first portion for a National Program on Jatropha was release with RS. 800 crore to support cultivation of Jatropha on new fields and plantations of 2,00.000 hectares.

      This is the first portion of a total program approve with Rs. 1.500 Core and 400.000 hectares, to be realize within five years.

      The program was intend to replace 5% of diesel consumption by 2006 with 2.6 Million tons of Jatropha based biodiesel produced on 2.2 Million hectares, based on yields expected by the Government.

      Jatropha curcas is consider most Suitable since it uses lands, which are largely unproductive.

      To plant Jatropha over 11 Million hectares, the program is to become a “National Mission”.

      The National Mission on Bio-diesel, 

      Is therefore propose in two phases.

      Phase I consisting of a Demonstration Project to be implemented by the year 2006-07 with an investment of Rs. 1500 crore on 4,00,000 hectares.

      As a follow up of the Demonstration Project, 

      Phase II will consist of a self sustaining expansion of the programme beginning in the year 2007 leading to production of Biodiesel required in the year 2011-12.

      Many states have already undertaken Biodiesel initiatives in their own ways. States like Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Uttaranchal, Tamil Nadu & Andhra Pradesh have already formed nodal agencies for Biofuel development and announced draft Biodiesel policies.

      Chhattisgarh has been pioneer in this programme.

      On Oct. 09, 2005, MOP&NG, MOP & NG, Government of India announce the Biodiesel Purchase Policy & the existing cost of Bio-diesel is Rs. 26.50/lit. Infrastructure for storing, blending & testing at 20 collection centers across the country is already create by the oil PSUs in line with the policy.

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      Rationale for the Program

      India is sixth in the world in energy demand accounting for 3.5% of world commercial energy consumption and diesel is predominantly consumed for most of the transportation fuel.

      The transport sector is the most problematic as no realistic alternatives have been found so far.

      In India, a larger share than in other countries is need for transport purposes, in particular diesel has major share (65% for transport).

      Consumption is expect to rise at an annual 5.6% rate. Domestic supply can presently satisfy 22% of demand and dependence on crude oil imports is increasing.

      There is a growing demand gap between production and consumption.

      Indian crude oil reserves are expect to last for another 30 years plus.

      Rising and volatile prices and respective foreign exchange costs are one of the main risk factors of the Indian economic and social development prospects.

      Bio-energy, as a replacement for transport fuel can be alcohol, or biodiesel. Bio-fuels are to reduce negative environmental effects through lower emissions and climatic impacts.

      Local production of bio energy is project to have a broad range of positive economic, social and environmental implications.

      Upgrading eroded and deforested land, creation of employment and income is part of the argument.

      The national program wants to stop soil and forest degradation and its environmental implications, generate employment for the poor, in particular for women, reduce climatic change and improve energy security.

      Bio-diesel is consider an equal replacement of diesel which can be made after trans-esterification of virgin or used vegetable oils (both edible or non-edible).

      It is meant to be produce in India mainly from Jatropha curcas and, to a extent, from other non-edible virgin oils (in particular Karanj or Pongamia pinnata).

      It requires little or no engine modification up to 20% blend.

      Compared to diesel, using bio-diesel substantially reduces emissions of unburned hydrocarbons (HC), carbon monoxide (CO), sulfates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, nitrated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and particulate matter (PM).

      The reductions increase as the amount of bio-diesel blended into diesel fuel increases.

      B100 provides the best emission reductions, but lower-level blends also provide benefits. B20 has been shown to reduce PM emissions 10%, CO 11%, and unburn HC 21%.

      Learn more about Bio-diesel Emissions.

      Bio-diesel also reduces greenhouse gas emissions because carbon dioxide release from bio-diesel combustion is offset by the carbon dioxide sequester while growing the Jatropha or other feedstock..

      B100 use reduces carbon dioxide emissions by more than 75% compared with petroleum diesel.

      Its higher Cetane number improves the combustion quality.

      As a byproduct the oil cake and glycerol can be sell to match the Diesel price.

      The sales cost of bio-diesel is expected to be very close to the cost of oil obtained for production, since the cost of transesterification is meant to be recoverable to a great extent from the income of oil cake (3-5 Rupees/kg) and glycerol (50Rs/kg).

      Impact on Emissions from tailpipes of vehicles

      • TABLE – 1 : Comparison of Emissions from 22% ethanol (E22) and 100% Hydrated ethanol (E100) with legal limits.
      • TABLE – 2 : Biodiesel emissions compared to conventional Diesel
      • TABLE – 3 : Projected demand and supply of ethanol for 5% blending in Petrol
      • TABLE – 4 : Projected demand for Petrol and Diesel, and biofuels requirements

      Comparison of Emissions from 22% ethanol (E22) and 100% Hydrated ethanol (E100) with legal limits.

      TABLE – 1
      ParameterE22E100Legal Limits BrazilLegal Limits- India (Euro III/ Bharat III)
      Carbon Monoxide (g/km)0.760.652.002.3
      Unburned Hydrocarbons (g/km)
      Nox (g/km)0.450.340.60.50
      Aldehydes (g/km)0.0040.020.03
      Evaporates( g/test)0.861.6
      Particulate matter (g/km)0.080.02
      Sulphur Dioxide (g/km)0.0640
      Source: CETESB (2004)

      Biodiesel emissions compared to conventional Diesel

      TABLE – 2
      EmissionsB100 (100% biodiesel)B20 (20% biodiesel)
      Regulated Emissions
      Total Unburned Hydrocarbons-93 %-30 %
      Carbon Monoxide-50 %-20 %
      Particulate Matter-30 %-22 %
      Nox+13 %+2 %
      Non regulated emissions
      Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH)-80 %-13 %
      NPAH (Nitrated PAH)-90 %-50 %
      Life cycle emissions
      Carbon Dioxide (LCA)-80 %
      Sulphur Dioxide (LCA)-100 %
      Source: Planning Commission (2003)

      Demand & Supply of Ethanol & Bio-diesel

      Projected demand and supply of ethanol for 5% blending in Petrol

      TABLE- 3
      YearPetrol Demand (MT)Ethanol Demand (ML)Molasses Prodn. (MT)Ethanol production (ML)Ethanol utilization (ML) 
      Source: Planning Commission (2003)

      Projected demand for Petrol and Diesel, and biofuels requirements

      TABLE – 4
      YearPetrol demand (MT)Ethanol blending requirement (in metric tons)Diesel demand (MT)Biodiesel blending requirement (in metric tons) 
      @ 5 %@ 10 %@ 20 %@ 5 %@ 10 %@ 20 % 
      Source: Planning commission, Govt. of India, Report of the Committee on Development of Biofuels, 16th April, 2003.




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