With the fuel prices rising across the country and almost crossing the Rs. 100 mark, it is time to shift towards a better fuel economy engine and fuels. After the introduction of BSVI norms, we saw a change in the type of engine produced, diesel engines which were selling like butter were suddenly stopped by many manufacturers and they only offer petrol engines. Now the Government is deciding on whether to mandate flex fuel engines.
The Union Road Transport Minister, Nitin Gadkari while addressing the rotary district conference virtually mentioned “We have surplus sugar, we are diverting sugar to Ethanol, I am transport minister, I am going to issue an order to the industry, that only petrol engines will not be there, there will be a flex-fuel engine, where there will be a choice for the people that they can use 100% fuel or 100% ethanol, I am going to take a decision very soon within 8-10 days and we will make it mandatory for the automobile industry”.
What is a Flex-fuel engine? What are the advantages?
Flex-fuel or flexible fuel is an alternative fuel that is a combination of gasoline and methanol or ethanol. Flex-fuel engines are Internal combustion engines designed to run on one or more type of fuel Like only using petrol or a blend of 20% ethanol or just Ethanol. But these engines are different from normal petrol engines, they come with an additional fuel composition sensor and suitable ECU programming. Normal petrol engines need these modifications to run on flex-fuels.
The advantages of using flex-fuel engines are that the emission is better when compared and also keeps the environment clean. There are some reports claiming that the use of flex-fuels help in better performance figures. Ethanol requires sugarcane and other plants so it helps the farmers and boosts the country’s economy. Moreover, it would reduce the country’s oil import bill which stands at Rs. 7lakh crore and Rs. 8 lakh crore.
Governments say on the new initiative
The current blend of ethanol in petrol is 8.5% as of 1.5% back in 2014. So the procurement has risen from 38 crore litres to 320 crore litres, says Gadkari. He also mentions that Ethanol is a better fuel than petrol and it is an import substitute, cost-effective and pollution-free.
The government had set a target of reaching 10% ethanol blending in petrol by 2022 and 20% doping by 2030. But our Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, to cut pollution and reduce import dependency on fuel has decided to advance the 20% ethanol blending by 5 years to 2025.
“Ethanol costs Rs. 60/- per litre and petrol has crossed the 100 mark in many cities. When people use only Ethanol as fuel they end up saving 30-35 Rs per litre” says Gadkari. “This will boost the Indian economy because we have rice, corn, wheat and sugarcane in surplus, we don’t have a place to store these surplus grains. In the best interest of farmers, the government has decided that we can make ethanol from the food grain, sugar cane juice and molasses”.