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Explained: Is Ethanol-blended Petrol Good For You? All You Need To Know

Ethanol-blended petrol is likely to be available in the country from December or January, ahead of the April 2023 target, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Friday.

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As India is progressing towards curtailing its dependence on oil imports alongside addressing the environmental hazards stemming from exceeding consumption of fuels, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry announced availability of twenty percent Ethanol-blended petrol in the country from December or January, ahead of the April 2023 target.

Union Petroleum and Natural Gas minister Hardep Singh Puri told the reporters, "We are constantly reviewing the ethanol production and I believe, 20 per cent blended fuel would come in the market in December or January ahead of April 2023 (target),"

Citing the example of Brazil where flex-fuel vehicles are available and the consumer can take ethanol or petrol as per choice, he said that this will be the ultimate goal of the government.

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Here we explain all about it through the most frequently raised questions concerning the biofuel.

What is Ethanol-blended petrol?

Ethanol-blended petrol primarily is a biofuel that is obtained from an organic source like sugarcane. Now a days it has become very common to locate a banner at the fuel outlets stating that the petrol they sell contains ethanol. Infact printing bills also come up with the added information that the customers are being provided with petrol blended with 10% ethanol.

Who does the blending and how?

The blending mechanism is operated by the oil marketing companies in their terminals. Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. blends ethanol at its terminals at Tiruchi, Coimbatore, Salem and Madurai. Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd blends the bio-fuel with petrol at its terminal in Chennai, while Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. in terminals in Chennai and Karur.

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The modus operandi includes a stream of ethanol stored in a tank. A separate pumping and metering mechanism is deployed for loading the ethanol into the petrol loading arm at terminals.

Why ethanol is blended with petrol?

Ethanol is an organic compound, also known as Ethyl Alcohol, which is produced from biomass. The reason it is blended with petrol is its higher octane number than gasoline, which contributes in improving the octane number of petrol. Ethanol has insignificant amount of water in it.

What is octane number?

Octane number is a measuring parameter indicative of any fuel's ability to endure compression before it detonates. The two variable are inversely proportionate i.e the higher the octane number the greater is the ability to withstand compression

Does this blending hamper the vehicles' speed?

Ethanol contains a signifcant amount of oxygen. Therefore the blending is only supposed to facilitate more complete combustion of fuel which consequently will curtail the degree of emissions without causing any performance reduction   or harm to the vehicle.

How much does ethanol cost?

A litre of ethanol currently costs ₹61 which keeps on fluctuating depending upon the internal fuel prices. However, the blending does not cause any change in the price of petrol or motor spirit.  The consumer pays for a litre of petrol only.

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