The pilot projects initiated by TVS and Mahindra will check the viability of running vehicles with ethanol engines
TVS and Mahindra have started pilot projects to produce ethanol engines for 2-wheelers in Pune.
Recently, the government approved use of E20 (20 percent ethanol and 80 percent petrol) as an automotive fuel and come 2023, oil marketing companies will be able to retail the fuel in India.
While the target for 20 percent ethanol blending in petrol has been moved from 2030 to 2023, the government had also asked automakers to check the viability of vehicles that run on pure ethanol or E100.
Thus, even as automakers are working on engines that will run on E20, projects on engines that run on E100 are also being worked upon.
One of the key aspects of the pilot projects would be to check the viability of launching E100 vehicles in India. The projects would also test if running a vehicle throughout the year on E100 can be sustained.
This is due to fact that the fuel is scarcely available in India, which makes launching a vehicle that runs on E100 impractical. At present though, the automotive industry is more concerned about reaching 20 percent ethanol blend in petrol.
The country produces 457 crore litres of ethanol per annum, which is sufficient for 10 percent ethanol blending. But, to reach 20 percent blending, over 1000 crore litres of ethanol need to be produced every year.
It must be noted that in January, the Department of Food & Public Distribution received as many as 418 proposals to set up an additional ethanol capacity of 1680 crore litres per year.
Of this 840 crore litres would be from solely gran-based products which was recently facilitated by the government. However, the majority of ethanol used in India continue to come from molasses.
It is likely that States like Karnataka, Maharashtra and UP, which have high blending rates will likely be the first to achieve E20.