The Hindu Business Line
Average ethanol blending from December to March increases by 8 per cent
The average ethanol blending in the country during the first four months of the current (December-November) year from December 2018 to March 2019 has been more than 8 per cent in 10 states.
With the decision to start supplying 10 per cent ethanol blended petrol in North Eastern states and Jammu and Kashmir, more ethanol production capacity will get set up in newer regions, according to a statement issued by the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA).
Against a requirement of 330 crore litres of ethanol for 10 per cent blending in the country, excluding J&K, North Eastern States and island territories, ethanol supply contracts have been signed for 237 crore litres for the ethanol supply period 2018-19 (December–November). This is the highest ethanol supply contracts ever, ISMA said.
“The best ever achieved was last year when contracts for 160 crore litres were signed and 150 crore litres of ethanol were supplied in 2017-18 ethanol supply period. Average all India ethanol blending with petrol achieved last year in 2017-18 was 4.22 per cent,” the statement added.
Out of total contracted ethanol supplies of 237 crore litres, 45 crore litres of ethanol have been contracted to be manufactured and supplied from ‘B’ heavy molasses and sugarcane juice, amounting to reduction of around 5 lakh tonnes of sugar production. Similarly, 16.5 crore litres of ethanol has been contracted to be manufactured and supplied from damaged foodgrains, unfit for human consumption.
In the first four months of the contracted supply period, December to November 2019, ethanol manufacturers have successfully supplied 75 crore litres to various depots of the oil companies across the country, it said, adding that for the first time, “21 crore litres out of the total supply of 75 crore litres have been manufactured from ‘B’ heavy molasses/sugarcane juice/ damaged foodgrains”.
According to the new biofuel policy, the government aims to achieve a target of 20 per cent ethanol blending with petrol by 2030, and to have 10 per cent blending with petrol by 2022. The policy allows use of feedstock other than molasses to manufacture ethanol in the country. This includes sugarcane juice, damaged foodgrains, rotten potato, corn, surplus foodgrains, if any etc.
In July–August 2018, the government had announced, for the first time, different prices, with a premium, for ethanol produced from ‘B’ heavy molasses and sugarcane juice as well as ethanol produced from damaged foodgrains.