HYDERABAD: Most parts of the country, barring a few States, have not met its target for ethanol blending program (EBP). Currently, oil marketing companies (OMC) are mandated to blend up to 10 per cent of ethanol in petrol as per the EBP promoted by the ministry of petroleum and natural gas.
Telangana is one among the many States that have not met the target. It has been learnt that against a target of 5 per cent ethanol blending, only 1.74 per cent could be achieved by OMCs in the State during 2017-18. In the first quarter of this year, Telangana managed 8.54 per cent blending against a target of 10 per cent. This was primarily due to less availability of ethanol.
Biofuels are added to petrol in measured quantities to reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere and related pollution. “Of the targeted procurement of 45,000-kilolitres, the State has been able to procure only 12,000-kilolitres in 2017-18. Only 2 per cent target of ethanol procurement has been achieved across the country,” observed a senior official representing OMC.
Explaining why the State had less procurement, Abinash Verma, Managing Director of Indian sugar mills association (ISMA) said: “Telangana does not tax ethanol at procurement stage but there are restrictions on its export and import. The States that have done well — like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa, and Gujarat — have lifted these restrictions.
Verma also observed that distillation refineries to manufacture biofuels from other food products have not yet been capacitated. “It would easily take another four years for that to happen,” he noted. In 2017-18, OMCs across the country could allocate only a mere 158.75 crore litres of ethanol against a demand of 320 crore litres.
This means, while the proposal is for 10 per cent ethanol blending in petrol, only 5 per cent could be achieved nationally last year. Regardless, the Centre has ambitiously proposed to hike the blend to 20 per cent by 2030.