The August 13, 2002 was a historic day for the Indian Ethanol Program. It was on this day that the Government of India finally announced that from January 1, 2003 blending of 5% ethanol would be made mandatory in Nine States and Four Union Territories. However, the implementation of announcement was delayed and finally, the government made it mandatory to blend the ethanol in designated states and union territories with effect from March 2003.
The introduction of a gasohol program has a long history that consists of innumerable committees being set up; a large number of commissioned reports gathering dust; research and development to reinvent the wheel; scores of seminars; hundreds of technical papers; a few field trials; and successful pilot projects at three sites. Now about 70% of all gasoline consumed in the country is being blended with ethanol. To ensure that about 350 million liters of ethanol of the right quality will be made available in adequate quantities at various oil depots and dispersed throughout the country during the next calendar year is a Herculean task facing the alcohol industry. The State Governments have to accept the Constitution and realize their role in the non-potable sector is limited to ensuring that alcohol is not used for potable purposes. The State Excise Departments should ‘change their mindsets’ and accept denatured ethanol as any other chemical.
The success of the program will depend upon the availability of anhydrous ethanol on a sustainable basis at competitive prices. The ethanol producers will have to add capacities to make ethanol anhydrous and also to produce the same from other bio-sources. The oil companies will have to make arrangements for blending ethanol to ensure that the entire storage, handling and distribution system is made water – proof as traces of water can separate ethanol from the blend. This is a challenging task that will involve cleaning of... [continues]
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