Ethanol Blending in India – Facts, Methods & Usage – The Catalysts Group

Ethanol Blending in India – Facts, Methods & Usage

Facts About Ethanol

Ethanol is a biofuel produced by the fermentation of sugars by yeasts or via the petrochemical processes. Ethanol is produced from molasses, an agriculture based by-product of the sugar industry and from grain-based distilleries. Ethanol is volatile, flammable, and colourless liquid  and spicy in taste. It is a psychoactive and a recreational drug, and also an active ingredient in alcoholic drinks. The fermentation of sugars naturally produces Ethanol by yeasts or through petrochemical process known as ethylene hydration. It has medical applications as an antiseptic and disinfectant on account of which it is being used in medical industry.

Ethanol intended for industrial use, is produced from ethylene because of its chemical properties. It is also used as an industrial feedstock or solvent (sometimes synthetic Ethanol) and is made from petrochemical feedstocks. As per experts, Ethanol as fuel leads to a reduction of harmful tailpipe emissions of carbon monoxide, particulate matter, oxides of nitrogen, and other ozone-forming pollutants.

Argonne National Laboratory analyzed greenhouse gas emissions from many different engines and fuel combinations. They found that biodiesel/Petro diesel blend showed a reduction of 8%; conventional E85 ethanol blend a reduction of 17%; and cellulosic Ethanol reduction of 64%, compared with pure gasoline. Ethanol also has a greater research octane number (RON) than gasoline. It is less prone to pre-ignition, allowing for better ignition advance, which means more torque and efficiency and lower carbon emissions.

Ethanol Blending Program in India

In 2003, A strong foundation had been made for the ethanol blending program known as Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP).The objective of this program was to promote alternative and environment-friendly fuels. The Ethanol Blending Programme (EBP) seeks to blend Ethanol with high spirit for value addition in the sugar industry. According to the consumer affairs ministry, food & public distribution, the Central Government has scaled up blending targets from 5% to 10% under the Ethanol Blending Programme (EBP).

Last year, India blended 173 crore litres of Ethanol in the petrol, which was a 5% blend..

Ethanol blending program played an essential role in strengthening India’s energy security and positively impacting the environment and the livelihood of farmers. Seeing the benefit of Ethanol blending, the Indian Government has set a target of 20% ethanol blending by 2025.

There are numerous benefits of achieving E20, and the Indian Government is expecting the investment of 41000 crores in this segment to achieve the E20 targets by 2025. The government aims to reach E10 by 2022 and E20 by 2025 though they have set up the EBP.

The EBP has been simplified to streamline the entire ethanol supply chain for the procurement of Ethanol. A “grid” that networks distillery to oil marketing companies (OMC) depots and details quantities to be supplied have been worked out to facilitate the achieving of new blending targets. A state-wise demand has also been projected, considering other factors like distances, capacities, and other sectoral demands.


The energy demand is rising in India due to economic expansion, population, changing lifestyles, increasing demand for vehicles and urbanizations. Only 2% of biofuels has been utilized in India’s transportations sector, and the rest still depend on fossil fuels.


Ethanol blending is the process of adding Ethanol to petrol. Because of the growing environmental concerns, Ethanol as motor fuel or as an additive is gaining rapid popularity. Properties of Ethanol closely resemble petrol. 

Use of Ethanol

Currently, India is using fuel with an 8.5% blend of Ethanol (approx.) known as E8, which has been set to go up to 20% by 2025. Ethanol, also known as ethyl alcohol, has been extracted from corn, sugarcane, and grain through numerous processes. It is one of the primary types of alcohol used in most alcoholic beverages. Ethanol can be obtained from the fermentation of a mash of grains or sugarcane. It is also an alternate source of fuel commonly blended with gasoline to oxygenate the energy at the gas pump. It has been used in various industries and products.

Listed here are some uses of Ethanol:

  1. Ethanol is used in the production of drugs, plastics, lacquers, polishes, plasticizers, and cosmetics.
  2. Ethanol is used as an ingredient in medicines as a topical anti-infective.
  3. Ethanol is used as an antidote for ethylene glycol.
  4. Ethanol is used as a common ingredient in many cosmetic and beauty products
  5. Ethanol is also used as a medicinal solvent due to its low toxicity.
  6. Ethanol can also be used as stove fuel for cooking.
  7. Ethanol is also used as the active fluid in alcohol thermometers.
  8. Used as a solvent in the manufacturing of varnishes and perfumes

To conclude: Ethanol is also used in some medical applications as an antiseptic. It has the property of a chemical solvent that synthesizes the organic compounds. It is an alternative fuel source for future transport.