If India achieves the target of blending 20 per cent ethanol with petrol by 2025, it will save around Rs 1 lakh crore of foreign exchange, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Wednesday.
In June 2021, the Narendra Modi government had set the target of achieving 10 per cent ethanol blending in petrol by November 2022, which was achieved five months in advance, he said after laying the foundation stone for Kribhco's bioethanol plant at Hazira on the outskirts of Surat city.
Achieving this target early made the government advance by five years the target of 20 per cent ethanol blending to 2025, the Cooperation Minister said. "The production of ethanol is going to change the entire economy of the petroleum sector in the coming days. Achieving the target of 20 per cent ethanol blending will also save around Rs 1 lakh crore of foreign exchange by 2025," Shah said.
He said that biofuels are a good alternative to reduce the country's dependence on crude oil imports, which has increased from 172 MMT in 2011-12 to 212 MMT in 2021-22. While efforts for this are being made across the world, India has framed a well-organised and scientific ethanol policy to achieve this, he said.
"Despite so much effort, the US produces 55 per cent ethanol, Brazil 27 per cent, and India three per cent. What I mean to say is that there is a lot of potential in this area, which every cooperative units should exploit, like what has been done by Kribhco. Cooperative units will have to come forward to increase the income of farmers," Shah said.
"In a way, 10 per cent blending achieved five months ahead of the November 2022 target has reduced the crude oil imports worth Rs 46,000 crore...Cooperative workers like me see this as this much increase in the income of farmers," Shah said.
Bioethanol is made from grains, molasses, plants and the 10 per cent blending has reduced 27 lakh tonnes of carbon production, and absorption of 27 lakh tonnes of CO2, helping purify our environment both ways, he said.
"The day Modiji achieves the target of 20 per cent blending, these figures will double," the minister added. Shah said that the project being started by Kribhco will help farmers in many ways. He said that the Modi government took several policy decisions to encourage ethanol production to achieve the target of 20 per cent blending.
He said that this has helped reduce 27 lakh tonne carbon production. With a 20 per cent blending target achieved, all these figures will double, he said. In a bid to cut reliance on imported oil, the government is pushing for mixing with petrol ethanol made from sugarcane and other agriculture commodities.
(With PTI Inputs)