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Piyush Goyal: India will achieve 20% ethanol-blended petrol target by 2025; maize to play important role, says Piyush Goyal

Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday expressed confidence that the country will achieve the target of 20 per cent blending of ethanol with petrol by 2025 and asserted that maize crop will play an important role in implementation of this programme. Addressing a national seminar on maize to ethanol, Goyal said ethanol is a “sunrise sector” and asked the industry to set up factories for manufacturing of this green fuel which can operate on dual feed stock (sugarcane and food grains).

The minister highlighted that the blending of ethanol with petrol has increased to 10 per cent in 2021-22 marketing year from just 1.53 per cent in 2013-14 on the back of efforts made by farmers and industry, aided by favourable government policies.

He said the supply of ethanol to oil marketing companies (OMCs) increased to 408 crore litre in 2021-22 from 38 crore litre in 2013-14.

Goyal termed the target of 20 per cent blending of ethanol with petrol as “ambitious and bold” but said this can be achieved if all stakeholders work towards it sincerely.

“As we have increased the blending to around 10.5 per cent from 1.5 per cent in the last nine years, we will certainly achieve 20 per cent target,” he added.

The minister stressed on the need to boost ethanol production to meet this target and said the focus should be now on making ethanol from maize crop, since there is limitation to increase supply from sugarcane crop.

To achieve the target of 20 per cent by 2025, about 1,016 crore litres of ethanol would be required. About 334 crore ethanol would be required for other usage. Therefore, there is a need to create a capacity of 1,700 crore litres, considering plant operates at 80 per cent efficiency. Goyal said the ethanol production has significantly helped sugar industry as well as sugarcane farmers and the same can be replicated in maize.

“If we have to jump from 10 per cent blending to 20 per cent, maize will have a major role to play… maize is better for making ethanol. It is eco-friendly crop as it can be grown with less water,” he said, adding that this will boost farmers’ income because of assured market.

Goyal said the agriculture ministry is working to increase productivity and production of maize crop.

The minister noted that higher blending of ethanol with petrol will be beneficial for farmers, environment and the overall India’s economy. The ethanol sector has attracted huge investments and helped in creation of jobs.

He said India’s crude oil import bill could come down by Rs 50,000 crore, leading to huge saving of foreign exchange reserve.

The minister exhorted industry to set up factories citing great business opportunity and said the government is ready to support.

“There is huge potential in maize. you should focus on dual feedstock (cane and grains) to produce ethanol,” he said, while emphasising on increasing the implementation speed to achieve the 20 per cent blending target.

Goyal said the auto industry has realised that ethanol is a reality. He said the work is going on towards rolling out flexi fuel engine and ethanol pumps.

Earlier, Food Secretary Sanjeev Chopra said the target is to reach 12 per cent blending in 2022-23, 15 per cent in 2023-24 and 20 per cent in 2024-25.

He said the requirement of ethanol is estimated at 1,300 crore litre, of which 650 litres should come from sugarcane and the rest from other sources including grains.

Chopra said the ethanol production from maize needs to be encouraged. For this, he said, maize production needs to be raised from 34 million tonnes to 42-43 million tonnes, besides some special price incentives.

Subodh Kumar Singh, the additional secretary in the department of food and public distribution, said there is a need to increase maize productivity and also percentage recovery of ethanol from maize.

The requirement of food grains for ethanol production would be 165 lakh tonnes, Singh said.

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