Cereal and Vegetable Waste can be Used for Ethanol Extraction Petrol Blending

The Centre has extended the ambit of the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) programme to extract the fuel from surplus quantities of maize, jawar, bajra and fruit/vegetable waste.

This decision was taken on Monday, 26 November, and will be applicable for procurement for the ethanol supply year 2018-19. Till now, only excess sugarcane production was allowed to be converted into ethanol for procurement under the fuel blending programme.

An official statement said the decision will benefit farmers by enabling them to make additional money from surplus production and broaden the sources for producing ethanol for the EBP programme.

“The National Policy on Biofuels 2018 has empowered the National Biofuel Coordination Committee (NBCC) to allow conversion of surplus quantities of foodgrains for production of ethanol during an agriculture crop year when there is projected oversupply of foodgrains as anticipated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare,” the statement said.

According to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DAC&FW), under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, has provided the projection of surplus quantities of foodgrains for production of ethanol under the EBP programme for the ethanol supply year 2018-2019 (December 1, 2018 to November 30, 2019).

“The matter was taken up during the first meeting of the NBCC on November 14, which has approved the procurement of ethanol produced from surplus quantities of maize, jawar and bajra, as projected by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, for the EBP programme for the ethanol supply year 2018-2019,” the statement said.

“The NBCC has also approved the proposal to produce ethanol from other feedstock such as fruit and vegetable wastes for the EBP programme,” the statement added.

Target for Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs)

Under the EBP programme, the Centre has asked the oil marketing companies (OMCs) to target 10 per cent blending of ethanol with petrol by 2022. However, there is a major shortfall in the availability of ethanol as sugar mills currently tap only ‘C-heavy’ molasses for ethanol production.

According to data compiled by the Indian Sugar Mills Association, the nationwide average for ethanol blending stood at 4.02 per cent as on October 1.

Keeping this in mind, the government earlier this year came out with a modified biofuels policy which incentivised sugar mills that tap ‘B-heavy’ molasses and cane juice for producing ethanol. This, the government hoped, would also address the issue of the glut in sugar production in the country in bumper sugarcane production years.