Northeast Dealerships Concerned About Ethanol Blending Risks

GUWAHATI: Green fuels or alternative fuels, which contribute to complete combustion and reduce vehicle emissions and fine particles, are encouraged by all stakeholders. Gasoline dealers in northeast India, however, have expressed reservations about the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) decision last month to roll out 10% motor alcohol blended with ethanol ( EBMS) at outlets in seven states in the region, with 100% roll-out in Guwahati.

This, despite IOCL’s assurance to clean the underground tanks and evacuate the water before the gasoline mixed with ethanol is decanted into them.

The blending of 10 percent ethanol in gasoline in India, it may be noted, is a practice that dates back almost two decades now and has been implemented across the country.

But the implementation of the practice in northeast India has been delayed due to the unavailability of sufficient ethanol.

Oil traders here have now appealed to the Center to order Petroleum Marketing Companies (OMCs) to meet all required standards before distributing Ethanol Blended Motor Gasoline (EBMS) at outlets. sales in the region.

The Greater Guwahati unit of the North East India Petroleum Dealers’ Association (NEIPDA) has made it unequivocally clear that it has no objections to IOCL’s plan, provided that underground retail outlet tanks /oil depots are rendered without water and an automated warning system set up by the OMC.

“It is possible that motor gasoline blended with ethanol could become contaminated after coming into contact with water (which could be present in underground tanks), through seepage or due to improper cleaning, and damaging vehicles. This is the main assertion of the association,” said NEIPDA President, Rajiv Goswami.

“IOCL’s decision is based on the premise that petrol pumps are fully automated, which is not true. We have called on the Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas and MPs in Assam to order the CMOs to comply with all directives by taking swift action to clean up the tanks at the outlets,” Goswami said.

“The CMOs only need to ensure that the underground tanks are free of water, but also ensure that there is no water seepage into the tanks for the safety of customers,” he added.

The association warned that dealers would be forced to boycott the sale of ethanol-blended gasoline if the CMOs imposed such a sale without the necessary compliance.

“Until the OMC clears the underground tanks of all retail outlets to make the tanks water free and ensure no fresh water infiltration and also activate the alarm system, which is supposed to be part of the automation process claimed by the CMOs’, we will not be able to accept EBMS and we will be forced to boycott the sale of this gasoline,” Goswami said.

The association further called for making the automation alert in all outlets fully functional so that all necessary precautions are taken to avoid any untoward incidents in the event of an increase in the water content of the reservoir.

Flexible fuel policy

Meanwhile, the All Assam Engineer’s Association (AAEA) on Saturday hailed the latest move by the Union Government in New Delhi and the State Government in Dispur to encourage the use of green fuel in all kinds of cars.

The association urged the concerned authorities to launch a public awareness campaign on the alternative fuel for the benefit of auto users across India.

It can be mentioned that the Minister for Road Transport and Motorways of the Union Nitin Gadkari advocates the use of ethanol blended fuels (mainly with gasoline/gasoline) in vehicles.

Lately, the Union minister has asked automakers in the country to introduce flex-fuel engines on a large scale. He argued that gasoline blended with ethanol would be cheaper and significantly reduce air pollution.

Currently, India spends about Rs 8 lakh crore per year on importing crude oil, gas and other petroleum products, even though the Narendra Modi-led government has decided to reduce these imports by using ethanol , methanol, biodiesel, compressed natural gas, green hydrogen. , et al.

Optimal use of ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol or grain alcohol) in gasoline engines would benefit farmers financially as the flammable, colorless organic compound is prepared from agricultural products such as grains, sugar cane , hemp, molasses, potato, etc. .

Currently, India uses a maximum of 9% gasoline blended with ethanol.

Ethanol (C2H5OH), a renewable fuel produced from biomass, burns cleaner than gasoline, which typically leaves a large volume of toxic carbon monoxide generated due to incomplete fuel combustion in the air.

In addition, the low level mixture such as 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline can be used in conventional gasoline engines. However, increasing the percentage of ethanol content (above 20%) would require some engine modifications.

“The government of Assam should formulate a pragmatic flex-fuel policy so that local farmers get the most out of the initiative. We urge Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to take the lead with necessary inputs from agricultural scientists, qualified engineers and other stakeholders,” AAEA Chairman Kailash Sarma said here.

A recent report by Niti Aayog, “Roadmap of Ethanol Blending in India 2020-25”, states that ethanol blending offers significant benefits such as increased Research Octane Rating (RON ) of the mixture, the oxygen integrated into the fuel and a higher flame speed.

“These properties of ethanol aid in complete combustion and reduce vehicle emissions such as hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and particulates,” the report states.

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