Ethanol pumps may be opened soon

Gadkari pushes for use of biofuels to slash country’s ₹7 lakh crore oil import bill, reduce pollution

Pushing for the use of biofuels like ethanol and butanol to help cut India’s ₹7 lakh crore oil import bill, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said on Friday he would soon send a note to the Petroleum Ministry to allow opening of ethanol pumps in the country.

Mr. Gadkari was speaking at the launch of India’s first ethanol-powered motorcycle — Apache RTR 200 Fi E100 by Chennai-based TVS Motor. Priced at ₹1.20 lakh, the two-wheeler will be available in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka. The company had first showcased the concept in Auto Expo 2018.

Ethanol is domestically produced from renewable plant sources. It is non-toxic, biodegradable, as well as safe to handle, store and transport.

An oxygenated fuel that contains 35% oxygen, ethanol reduces nitrogen oxide emissions from combustion. It also helps reduce carbon monoxide emissions, particulate matter and sulphur-di-oxide. However, there are no ethanol fuel stations in the country right now.

TVS Apache is the flagship brand of TVS Motor Company with sales of over 3.5 million units across the globe.

‘Bring in three-wheelers’

Welcoming the company’s move to launch an ethanol-powered two wheeler, the Minister asked TVS to work on bringing out an ethanol powered three-wheeler.

He added that the government would encourage such products to reduce pollution.

“Oil imports cost India ₹7 lakh crore every year, at the same time there is pollution also… but biofuels like ethanol and butanol can be extracted from sugarcane and used in vehicles and aircraft. Sugar is surplus right now and everywhere we have a lot of sugar refineries, which can alternatively be used for making biofuels which are not only economical and efficient, but also pollution- free,” he said.

TVS Motor Company chairman Venu Srinivasan said, “Today, the two-wheeler industry is looking at green and sustainable future mobility solutions spanning across electric, hybrid and alternate fuels.

The company believes that ethanol-based products are an important option for our customers.”

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