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Nitin Gadkari Pushes Use of Alternative Fuel in India, Ethanol Pumps Within 6 Months: Nitin Gadkari

Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways provided another impetus for alternative fuel when he announced recently that ethanol pumps will be set up across the country in the next 6 months. The Centre has been pushing for ethanol as an alternative fuel to petrol and diesel. “India is well-honed to look at future technologies. We will establish ethanol pumps network in the country within six months,” he said.

Gadkari made the comments at the 61st Society of Indian Automobile (SIAM) convention. He applauded how India leapfrogged from BS-IV to BS-VI norms in a short time frame. “

Gadkari also advocated the development of flex-fuel engines similar to countries such as Canada, the USA, and Brazil.

Ethanol or ethyl alcohol is a starch-based fuel derived from corn grain, crop residues, wood chips, or sugar cane. It is a renewable fuel that oxygenates the fuel it is mixed with, curbing air pollution. For example, in the US, the gasoline used for running vehicles is termed E10 — 10% ethanol mixed with 90% petrol. Flex-fuel, on the other hand, is a greater composition of ethanol (around 80%), which is more environment-friendly as compared to E10.

Gadkari said the government is trying to manufacture engines that give an option to users to either run on 100% ethanol or 100% petrol. It is similar to how CNG cars are being run in the country.

Currently, flex-fuel engines in India are rare. In July 2019, TVS unveiled their first ethanol-powered Apache RTR 200. However, the model is yet to be available for sale.

India’s roadmap towards ethanol-powered engines was carved with 2030 as the target, which was then brought closer to 2025, and then finally 2023. With the surplus of grains like corn, wheat, and maize in the country, Gadkari is optimistic that Indian roads will soon see vehicles being run on E20 fuel. Subsequently, the technology will be upgraded to E100.

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