Toyota Kirloskar Motor partners Indian Sugar Mills Association to accelerate ethanol use in India

TKM and ISMA aim to accelerate the adoption of ethanol as an indigenous alternate clean fuel and contribute to India’s goal to lower its dependence on fossil fuels as well as its carbon footprint. 

Autocar Pro News Desk By Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 18 Feb 2023 Views icon4946 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) has exchanged a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) to create awareness and promote the use of ethanol as a sustainable biofuel in India.

The MoU exchange took place in the presence of Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, along with the other key government officials and dignitaries, at an event that marked the 120 years of establishment of first sugar mill in the state of Uttar Pradesh. TKM demonstrated its flexi-fuel strong hybrid electric vehicle along with an experiential drive at the event. 

ISMA, the interface between the Indian government and the sugar industry, is instrumental in production of ethanol and plays an important role, including enabling requisite ethanol fuel availability in the country. Through this MoU, TKM and ISMA aim to accelerate the adoption of ethanol as an indigenous alternate clean fuel and contribute to the country’s goal to lower its dependence on fossil fuels as well as its carbon footprint. 

Being an agriculture-based and domestically produced fuel-source, higher use of ethanol will increase farmer incomes and create new jobs, thereby boosting the agrarian economy besides reducing the fossil fuel imports. The government also recently launched second-generation technologies for producing ethanol from agricultural residues like agriculture waste (parali), which is currently otherwise burnt.  

Flex-fuel vehicles can use higher ethanol blends

The government of India has been actively promoting the use of ethanol as a biofuel and has set an ambitious target to achieve 20% ethanol blending in petrol by 2025. By 2025-2026, it is expected that 86 million barrels of petrol will be replaced by 20% ethanol, saving India Rs 30,000 crore in foreign exchange and reducing carbon emissions by 10 million tonnes. These benefits can be enhanced significantly with the advent of flex-fuel vehicle technologies, which can flexibly use higher ethanol blends from 20% to 85%, given the enormous potential of ethanol production that exists beyond capacity for E20 blends. 

Toyota launched its flex-fuel strong HEV project in India in October 2022 with the Corolla Altis Hybrid. 

Commenting on this initiative, Sudeep S Dalvi, Senior Vice-President and Chief Communication Officer of Toyota Kirloskar Motor, said, “In our constant endeavour to promote the adoption of sustainable mobility solutions across regions, we at Toyota believe that it is crucial to amplify in-depth understanding about ways and means to combat carbon emissions, beyond providing technologically advanced solutions, while achieving goals of carbon neutrality.”

Dalvi added, “We are proud to collaborate with ISMA to popularise the use of ethanol being a clean and sustainable biofuel source for the automotive industry in India. TKM is continuously studying various advanced powertrains that promote green technologies as well as energy self-reliance. The flexi-fuel strong hybrid EV being an electrified technology combines the best of both the worlds – electrified as well as alternate fuel ethanol pathways. The electrified flexi fuel vehicle has both the flexi-fuel engine and electric powertrain and will enable the demand creation for alternate fuel and electric vehicle parts manufacturing ecosystem. The FFV-SHEV technology enables better fuel efficiency with faster reduction of fossil fuel consumption & CO2 emissions.” 

Aditya Jhunjhunwala, President of Indian Sugar Mills Association, said: “ISMA is delighted to collaborate with Toyota Kirloskar Motor on this significant initiative. We look forward to working together to enhance ethanol awareness and encourage its wider adoption as a fuel in India. Ethanol is a vital part of India's energy mix and with this joint effort, we are hopeful to contribute better to the larger goal of achieving self-reliance in energy. This will go a long way in contributing to a cleaner, greener environment.” 

What is a flex-fuel vehicle?
An FFV–SHEV has a flexi fuel engine and an electric powertrain, thus providing dual benefit of higher ethanol use and greater fuel efficiency, as it can run for significant time periods on its EV mode, wherein the engine is shut off. The FFV-SHEV has much higher economic multiplier benefits, as it can hasten local manufacturing of electric and flexi-fuel powertrain parts, thus providing a disruption free & low risk industry and energy transition. As this technology provides the opportunity to benefit from both electrification and bio-fuel energy pathways, it enables a faster reduction of fossil fuel consumption, CO2 emissions, as well as boosting the agrarian economy.

A vehicle equipped with a flex-fuel engine can run on more than one type of fuel, and also a mixture. Such an engine is capable of automatically adjusting to any ratio, thanks to modifications like a fuel composition sensor and suitable ECU programming. Flex-fuel engines are capable of running on 100 percent petrol or ethanol and are already available in countries such as Brazil, the USA and Canada. 

Multiple-energy path towards carbon-neutral mobility

Towards realising a carbon-neutral mobility society, TKM continues to emphasis the multiple energy pathway approach, wherein different electrified and alternative fuel technologies can provide choice for the customers to select the best low carbon solutions that have the greatest potential to achieve carbon neutrality at speed.

In this regard, a Brazil-based study indicates that the ‘Well-to-Wheel’ carbon emission of flexi-fuel strong hybrid EVs in Brazil is 29 grams/km, which is the lowest globally.  Thus, promoting the use of ethanol as a substitute clean fuel in India through the adoption of flexi-fuel vehicles and flexi-Fuel strong hybrid EVs remains one of the key focus areas to create a cleaner, more sustainable energy landscape in India.

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