Ethanol-Blended petrol with an ethanol content of 10% might soon be a reality in India. To cut its import bills, the Narendra Modi led Government is pushing for a move to legalize 10% ethanol in petrol.
The move to introduce 10% ethanol-blended petrol is aimed at reducing the import bill, and curb the fiscal deficit. India is one of the largest importers of crude oil in the world. Due to unavailability of crude oil resources, India has to depend on imports. The addition of a higher amount of ethanol will help in reducing the import costs. In addition, ethanol-blended petrol has certain advantages for the environment as it is leaves lesser emissions on being combusted.
However, automakers have been left to grapple with the after-effects of this decision.
Currently, petrol sold in India has a 3% ethanol content. On being increased to 10%, certain changes will be necessary in the engines and ancillary parts. These include :
- Upgradation of fuel hoses – Natural rubber is vulnerable t degradation by ethanol. Overtime, this will affect the performance of the engines.
- Need for larger fuel tanks – Ethanol might be a cleaner fuel, but it has lesser energy content than petrol. This will require more amount of fuel to travel the same distance in a given vehicle. Hence, the vehicles need to be fitted with larger fuel tanks.
- Effect on aluminium structures – Aluminium is widely used in constructing engines nowadays, to allow for a lesser weight. However, the use of ethanol-blended petrol could affect aluminium engines as ethanol has higher water content. This can corrode the aluminium parts of the engine.
Certain automakers have already taken this in stride, and have made their powerplants ethanol compatible. For example, certain cars of Maruti-Suzuki and Honda are labelled “E10 Compatible”. However, manufacturers like Tata Motors and few others are yet to adapt to the changing landscape.
Source – Business Standard