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India pips China in ethanol production to meet green energy goals

India's Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) programme on track

India’s ethanol production at 4.7 billion litres this year has surpassed that of China’s, which produced 4.2 billion. According to data published by the International Energy Agency (IEA), India produced 3.2 billion litres of ethanol in 2021 compared to 4.1 billion litres produced by China. India, which has been primarily using sugar molasses and sugarcane for ethanol production is now looking to switch to maize to further increase the production of this fuel.

An increased use of ethanol, an essentially renewable fuel made from various plant materials, will boost India’s green energy mission. Amid the stiff target to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2070 zero carbon, India is aggressively pushing for Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) programme to facilitate mixing of this fuel with petrol.

Ethanol production in India is expected to soar in the next few years. By 2026 is expected to touch 5.4 billion litres per year.

India after the US and Brazil now ranks among the top three countries producing ethanol.

After touching the set target of blending 10 per cent ethanol with petrol much ahead of the deadline, the Centre said that the next goal of achieving 20 per cent blending by 2025-26 is on track. In 2013, ethanol-blend percentage in petrol was just 0.67 per cent.

India’s steady economic growth has led to a rise in energy consumption. India’s annual CO2 emissions are now the third highest in the world. The IEA however pointed out that India’s CO2 emissions per person “put it near the bottom of the world’s emitters, and they are lower still if you consider historical emissions per person.” The same is true of energy consumption: the average household in India consumes a tenth as much electricity as the average household in the United States, the IEA said.

Green growth is one of the seven thrust areas termed as Saptrishi in this year’s budget.

“This Budget will play a key role in establishing India as a lead player in the global green energy market. That is why, today, I invite every stakeholder of the energy world to invest in India,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier said while addressing a post budget webinar. He added that India’s commanding position in the renewable energy space will ensure a commensurate change in the world.

Maharashtra, UP and Karnataka are the largest ethanol producing states.

Also read: PM Modi invites investors to turn India into a global green-energy leader