Flexi Fuel and Use of Ethanol
Flexi fuels and ethanol have become the talk of the town in recent years. Demand for flexi fuels has been multiplied because petrol prices soared above hundred rupees a litre, over-dependence on fossil fuels, international acceptance of greener medium to run the vehicle etc.
India is taking bold steps towards making flexi-fuels the primary source for consumers. In an event, Mr Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road, Transport, and Highways, said, “We are going to make flexi-fuel compatible engine mandatory for all automobile companies within six months” (3rd September’2021)
Let’s go through what are flexi fuels and use of ethanol to understand why it matters.
What are Flexi Fuels?
Flexi Fuels are an environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels. These fuels are affordable and derived from biological resources such as sugarcane. The government of India has already indicated compulsory use of ethanol fuel in engines, and companies are weighing their strategies around it.
Though in the beginning, it would require tuning and modifications, it would not be much of an issue because countries such as Brazil, the USA, Canada have already used the flexi fuel and we can learn from their experiences.
Flexi fuels use in engines might increase the prices of vehicles, as per some experts, the price could go up to twenty to twenty-five thousand. These will reduce in the time with newer technologies, government support, and subsidies.
How do Flexi Fuels Vehicles work with Ethanol fuel?
Flexible fuels vehicles have an internal combustion engine, capable of operating on any blend of gasoline and ethanol up to 83 per cent. Ethanol contains a higher percentage of oxygen and to accommodate Engine Control Module (ECM) needs to be calibrated.
The fuel pump and fuel injection system also require modifications to compensate energy content and chemical properties of ethanol.
Apart from these, other features and elements are mostly the same as per petrol or diesel car.
Current Status of Ethanol in India
Ø India started using ethanol with fuel in 2003 as an automotive fuel and made 5 per cent ethanol mandatory for nine significant sugar-producing states and union territories.
Ø In June 2021, Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi said that “we will achieve the milestone of blending twenty per cent ethanol in gasoline by 2025, five years earlier than projected.”
Ø TVS and Bajaj have already developed ethanol compatible vehicles.
Advantages and Use of Ethanol
Ethanol improves the performance of the engine with more oxygen, two to three points of octane, prevention of freezing in the gas line, and reduction of hazardous emission from the tailpipe.
The advantage for India
- Ethanol blended vehicles or complete ethanol-based vehicles in India will reduce air pollution in the short and long run.
- India imports 82.8 per cent of its crude oil requirements. The percentage and bill will reduce significantly with ethanol fuel.
- Revival of sugar mills in states like Bihar, positive impact on job generation, and investment in rural India
Flexi fuels are the need of the hour for a greener environment and reducing carbon footprint. Use ethanol-based vehicles and build a greener tomorrow together.