IOCL gets environmental ministry's nod for setting up 2G ethanol plant in Haryana

by Shahkar Abidi 11 Nov 2019

Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL), gets environmental clearance for setting up Rs 766 crore 2G ethanol plant in Haryana which will be used for blending in the transportation fuel.  

Taking forward, the government’s target to reduce import dependency by 10 percent by 2022, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change gave its nod for the IOCL ethanol plant in Haryana’s Baholi, near Panipat. In a statement on Sunday, the ministry said, “the Ethanol produced will be used for blending in transportation fuel.”

Announcing the development, Prakash Javdekar, Union environment minister on Sunday tweeted saying, “Happy to inform that Environment Clearance is given to IOCL to set up new 2G Ethanol plant in Panipat.”

The Environment Ministry has identified the production and use of ethanol as one the thrust areas to reduce import dependency and increase farmer income. TheGovernment had earlier also declared that no separate environmental clearance is required to produce additional ethanol from B-heavy molasses as it does not contribute to the pollution load, giving further benefits to farmers and the sugar industry.

Alternate fuel demand rising steadily
Government statistics indicate that the road transport sector accounts for 6.7% of India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) now. Diesel meets an estimated 72% of this demand followed by petrol at 23%. The balance demand is taken care of other fuel options like CNG, LPG etc which is seeing a steady uptick. Thegovernment targets 20% ethanol blending in petrol and 5% biodiesel blending is by 2030.The goal of the policy is to boost availability of biofuels in the market thereby increasing its blending percentage. Currently the ethanol blending percentage in petrol is around two percent and biodiesel blending percentage in diesel is less than 0.1%.

According to an OPEC forecast, the oil demand for road transportation in India is expected to grow to 2.52 mb/day by 2024 from 1.83 mb/day  in 2018. The blending of biofuels with petrol and diesel will help the country save precious foreign exchange.

Few studies undertakenin India indicated a surplus biomass availability of close to 120 -160 MMT annually which, if converted, has the potential to yield 3000 crore litres of ethanol annually. Surplus biomass/agricultural waste, which has cellulosic and lingo-cellulosic content, can be converted to ethanol using second generation (2G) technologies. The government has allowed procurement of ethanol produced from other non-food feedstock besides molasses including the petrochemical route, subject to meeting the relevant BIS standards.