Explained: Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme in India

Know All About Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme in India

Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme was launched in India as a pilot project in 2001 and as a full-fledged programme in 2003 with an aim to curb carbon emission and to curtail India’s dependence on imported crude oil. Let’s learn.

Know All About Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme in India


What is Ethanol?
  • Ethanol is a form of anhydrous ethyl alcohol and also known as grain alcohol.
  • Ethanol is produced as a natural byproduct of plant (sugarcane, maize, wheat etc) fermentation and it is also produced through the hydration of ethylene.
  • Primary production of Ethanol in India is done through fermentation of sugarcane molasses.
  • Ethanol is mixed with the gasoline to prepare different types of blends.
  • The chemical formula of Ethanol is C2H5OH

Sugarcane molasses is a byproduct from sugar production.It is a dark brown,viscous syrup with very strong, intrinsic flavor.

What is Ethanol Blending?

Ethanol is a renewable fuel which is produced from food grains, beverage and food waste, cellulosic biomass etc. The Ethanol molecules contain oxygen therefore it triggers the complete combust the fuel inside the engine. Ethanol is blended exclusively with gasoline to produce a Biofuel. The procedure of Ethanol blending involves several steps as follows:

Process of Ethanol Blending
Process of Ethanol Blending

Benefits of Ethanol Blending

  • Ethanol Blended Petrol is an efficient Biofuel as it is less-flammable and with improved lubricating properties.
  • Ethanol Blended Petrol releases fewer emissions into the environment resulting less emissions of Green House Gases and less air pollution.
  • It is cost-effective.
  • It increases durability of car engines and vehicles require less maintenance.
  • Ethanol Blended Petrol is a renewable fuel.
  • It will be able to reduce dependence on crude oil.
  • Agricultural wastes like crop residues will be in their optimum usage, no waste will be left behind, therefore it will benefit the farmers as well as the environment.

Do You Know?

The octane rating of Ethanol is 113 which makes Ethanol a fuel with the highest performance in the market. Octane number is the standard of anti-knock properties of a fuel.

What is 1G and 2G Ethanol?

First-generation or 1G Ethanol are produced from the sugars of sugarcane where as second-generation or 2G Ethanol is produced from agricultural residues like sugarcane straw and bagasse etc.

What is Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme?

  • The Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme was implemented by the Department of Food and Public Distribution under the Ministry of Consumers Affairs, Government of India in 2003.
  • The programme was launched to promote the use of environmentally friendly fuels and to reduce import dependency of crude oils from foreign countries.
  • The Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas has issued a guideline for the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) to supply 5% Ethanol Blended Petrol in 2006.
  • Government of India has fixed the remunerative price for ethanol procurement based on raw material used in ethanol production as follows:
Raw materialPrice(Rs)
C-heavy molasses43.75 per litre
B heavy molasses54.27 per litre.
Sugarcane juice/sugar/sugar syrup59.48 per litre.
Damaged food grains47.13 per litre
  • Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme is applicable in whole India except Union Territories of Andaman Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands since 1st April 2019. In these two UTs, the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) are directed supply 10% Ethanol Blended Petrol.
  • Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme is a step towards Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT)

Ethanol Blending Target Percentage

The government of India has put a target of  10% Ethanol Blended Petrol by 2022 and 20% Ethanol Blended Petrol by 2030 in whole country.

Do You Know?
First Ethanol powered engine was built in 1826 by Samuel Morey.The power engine was run by ethanol and turpentine.Later Nicholas Otto from Germany started to use ethanol as fuel in his engines in 1960.

Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme and National Bio-Fuel Policy

  • National Policy on Bio-Fuel 2018 was launched under the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.
  • The policy was conceptualized by  National Biofuel Coordination Committee.
  • National Policy on Bio-Fuel is focused on Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme. 

Impact of Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme
Total 150.5 crore litres of ethanol was blended in Petrol under the Ethanol Blended Petrol Program in India in 2017-18 which resulted in foreign exchange impact of about Rs. 5070 crore and reduction of carbon emission to the extent of 29.94 lakh tonnes.

  • Government has launched Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN Yojana under National Bio-Fuel Policy to provide Viability Gap Funding (VGF) to 2G bio-ethanol manufacturing projects to boost the availability of ethanol for EBP programme.

Know About Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN Yojana

Government of India launched “Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN (Jaiv lndhan- Vatavaran Anukool Fasal Awashesh Nivaran) Yojana” to incentivize 2G Ethanol sector and support the industry by creating a suitable ecosystem for setting up commercial projects and increasing Research & Development.

National Biofuel Coordination Committee

National Biofuel Coordination Committee operates under the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas. The committee works on formulating guidelines of National Bio-Fuel Policy and Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme and monitors the same. Recently National Biofuel Coordination Committee has decided to use surplus rice, available with Food Corporation of India in manufacturing ethanol to increase the supply of Ethanol Blended Petrol across the country.

  • Ethanol Blending Programme is operated under which ministry?
  • Ans: Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.

Government Scheme and Initiatives for Assistance to Sugar Mills in India

  • Government has reduced the GST rate on Ethanol for EBP Programme from 18% to 5%.
  • Industries (Development & Regulation) Act, 1951 has been amended to give more control on production, movement and storage of ethanol to the Central Government for the smooth implementation of EBP Programme.
  • Government of India also launched a scheme for Assistance to Sugar Mills For Augmentation of Ethanol Production Capacity, 2018. The Central Government has extended assistance of 392.76 crore Rs to sugar mills under the scheme.

Challenges Ahead of Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme

  • Substandard infrastructure: Many sugar mills in India are suffocating due to poor financial stability therefore makes it difficult to invest in biofuel plants.
  • Uncertainty of Investors: Investors are still in undecided phase due to the uncertainty over the price of bio-ethanol in the future.
  • Poor supply of raw materials: There is no mechanism for farmers across India to deliver the agricultural waste up to the plants. There is not even any government subsidy or incentive facilities or a fixed price for agricultural waste to encourage poor farmers to supply the raw materials.

Current Status of Biofuels in India 2020

Right now,the price of Ethanol varies in between 43 to 60 Rs litre, which is about 40 percent of the price of a litre of petrol. There are vehicles being manufactured with ‘flex’ engines which enables them to run on pure petrol, pure Ethanol or Ethanol Blended Petrol.

Where was India's first Second Generation Bio-Refinery set up?
Bhatinda in Punjab By Hindustan Petroleum at a cost of Rs 600 crore.

  • According to the data released by Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA),375-400 crore litres of ethanol is to be produced in 2020-21.
  • However, it is to be noted that the estimated amount is more than the promised 170 crore litres by sugar mills and distilleries for the Ethanol Blended Programme (EBP).
  • Many sugar mills has opted for heavy molasses and cane juice which will eventually reduce the carrying costs to that extent for the sugar mills.

Have a look at the data of 2016

Top Ethanol Producers

Source U.S. Energy Information Administration

The U.S.A and Brazil account for the production of 87% of the world’s total ethanol. More than 22 billion gallons of ethanol are produced each year by this two country.


Ethanol Blended Petrol has torrent of positive impacts to the Environment.In a country like India, mass adoption of Ethanol Blended Petrol is highly urged and more importantly the programme is capable to save the country by reducing the economic burden as well as contributing in combating environmental pollution.However, the viability of the Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme in India entirely depends four factors as follows

  • Concerted efforts to increase sugarcane yield.
  • Control water wastage through improved irrigation methods.
  • Production capacity and infrastructure of bio-refineries should be improved.
  • Comprehensive and inclusive government initiatives to transport agricultural raw materials to nearby plants by the active participation of farmers.

Also, the Government of India should formulate a flexible and transparent pricing mechanism for Ethanol Blended Petrol so that people can aspire and envisage steps towards a pollution-free and economically viable nation.

The article is written with an aim to prepare a comprehensive note on Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme UPSC and other competitive examinations. Do comment, if you have any queries.

Also Read The Ins and Outs of National Education Policy 2020


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