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Satish Lele
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Power Ethanol
    Advantages:
  • Power Ethanol Manufacture from Waste Grain generates capital investment, saves Foreign exchange, brings economic development and job creation in Rural economies.
  • Power Ethanol Manufacture from Waste Grain reduces tailpipe carbon monoxide emissions by as much as 30%.
  • Power Ethanol Manufacture from Waste Grain reduces exhaust VOC emissions by 12%.
  • Power Ethanol Manufacture from Waste Grain reduces toxic emissions by 30%.
  • Power Ethanol Manufacture from Waste Grain reduces particulate emissions, especially fine-particulates that pose a health threat to children, senior citizens, and those with respiratory ailments.
  • Power Ethanol Manufacture from Waste Grain reduces carbon dioxide greenhouse gases by over 35% compared to gasoline.
    Ethanol Manufactured from Waste Grain's impact on Economy:
  • The direct employment potential is likely to be at least 50 times that of a petroleum refinery.
  • The ethanol requirement for 10% blend of each of these products would mean around 6 billion liters per year.
  • This in turn, means a requirement of additional Waste Grain to be converted to ethanol, which is only around 10% of total Grain grown in the country.
  • This in turn would provide an additional income per year to the tune of Rs 6500 Cr.(65 billion) at an average price of Rs.650 per tone.
  • This would also involve a cultivation of nearly 1.4 million hectares out of the total cultivable area 184 million hectares and involve supporting an estimated 1 crores farmers (and their families).
  • A 6 billion liters ethanol production, could save an estimated around US$1 billion in foreign exchange in diesel / petrol equivalent.
  • The value would be much higher if MTBE equivalent is worked out. The value to be attached to enhanced energy  security of the Nation has to be considered.
Ethanol as substitute for MTBE as anti-knocking agent:
The oil companies want a greener, Non pollutant India? or their balance sheets more Stronger? What of their CSR? The main use of MTBE is as an additive / component in petrol. Oxygenates are used widely as a component of unleaded petrol. MTBE is the dominant petrol oxygenate. According to directive 98/70/EEC, the legal maximum concentration of MTBE is 15% volume in automotive petrol. The European average oxygenate concentration in petrol is about 2.5% by weight, but the concentration varies widely from country to country and from refiner to refiner.(MTBE conversion ratio volume % to weight % in petrol is very close to 1 (at 15oC)
Petrol consumption in India during 2016-17 ass 20 Million Tons and only 0.64% of petrol is replaced with Ethanol. MTBE is used as additives at two refineries - Mumbai (BPCL) and Koyali (IOC). MTBE reduces the calorific value of the fuel because it has already been partially burnt, that is, the oxygen atoms have already used up some of the potential for burning the hydrogen atoms.
Pure MTBE has a Calorific Value of 35 MJ/kg, while standard fuels have around 42-44. Ethanol has a Calorific Value of 30MJ/kg.
    Facts for Policy makers:
  • Ethanol is a renewable energy source with positive energy balance.
  • Ethanol is more environmental friendly than gasoline.
  • Large scale ethanol usage can promote more jobs while considering the loss of jobs in the oil refineries.
  • Government subsidies are required for the promotion of ethanol as fuel.
  • Sugar based ethanol production are more economical than the grain based ethanol production.
  • Only minimal changes are required to convert both the engine and fuel distribution sides to accept ethanol as fuel.
  • Controlled Ethanol production option from waste food grains may not affect the food grain supply in the consumer markets.
  • Cellulosic biomass to ethanol conversion technique can be made cost effective in the near future.
  • Flexible fuel vehicles are more appropriate than introducing E100 (ethanol only) vehicles.
  • Simultaneous Sacharification and Fermentation technique can give higher ethanol yield from the feedstock.
  • Molecular sieve technology is a highly efficient dehydration technology for producing fuel ethanol.
  • Ethanol as a fuel for the Fuel cells is more viable (Technically & Economically) compared to other fuels.
  • Agricultural country like India can meet the whole ethanol fuel requirement by means of sugar molasses and starch feedstock.
    Advantages of Kyoto:
  • In terms of reduction of carbon emission, the nation can save nearly 5 to 6 million tones of carbon equivalent per year including carbon substitution by bagasse.
  • This can mean additional income from international carbon trading, estimated to be to the tune of $100 million.
  • More importantly, the program will assist in promoting sustainable development, slowing down  climate change and reducing medicare bills in thousands of crores.
    Price mechanism:
  • Price of MTBE: Global Prices of MTBE fob on Asian ports is above 600USD and is higher in EU.
  • Ethanol Procurement: Oil companies are buying at Rs21.50/lt.
  • With weak Dollar and Strong Rupee the Parity came down, but for a period of 3 years, difference between MTBE and Indian blending was around Rs.10/lt, meaning Rs.30/lt was more appropriate.
  • Ethanol and Fuel prices are Directly proportionate though others like Feedstock demand / supply, logistics also have a role.
    Calorific value and its implications:
  • Unfortunately, ethanol has a comparatively low calorific value of only 28.6 MJ/kg compared to 43.5 MJ/kg of petrol, which means that it requires an additional 35% more ethanol to release the same amount of energy as petrol.
  • This fact is clearly revealed by comparing the stoichiometric air / fuel requirement of petrol (14.73:1) to that of ethanol (9.0:1).
  • However, this disparity is not born out in test results. In general, the fuel economy of an engine using a 10% ethanol / petrol blend is usually only 3% to 4% lower than the same engine using 100% petrol as a fuel.
    Effects of ethanol on fuel parameters:
  • The octane number is a measure of the resistance to the abnormal combustion phenomenon known as 'knock'. Ethanol in petrol is known to enhance the octane number or rating of fuel, and is recognised worldwide as a proven octane enhancer.
  • The octane performance of a fuel is measured under two different operating conditions that provide the 'Research' and 'Motor' octane numbers (RON and MON) of the fuel. RON relates to low speed (lugging) operation, and MON relates to high engine speed operation.
  • The octane requirement of a particular engine type results from a number of design factors such as compression ratio and the design of the combustion chamber. Engines and petrol octane numbers are complementary, engines are designed to operate effectively on commercial fuel of specified octane numbers and fuel suppliers must ensure petrol octane meets these market needs.
  • The difference between the RON and MON is called the 'sensitivity'. Petrol manufacturers try to maintain this at about 8 to 10 units to prevent high speed knock and possible engine damage. The sensitivity of E10 is about 14 units, although this may vary somewhat depending on the composition of the base petrol.
  • The oxygen content required for combustion in a motor vehicle running on non-oxygenated fuel is sourced from the air. The oxygen content of a fuel has an effect on the Air-to-Fuel (A/F) ratio. The A/F ratio required for complete combustion (the stoichiometric balance) is 14.6:1, that is 14.6 kilograms of air to one kilogram of non-oxygenated fuel.
  • Ethanol blended fuels have an increased oxygen content (ethanol at 10% equates to an oxygen content of 3.5%), which will alter the A/F ratio at which the engine is operating.
  • Volatility refers to a fuel's ability to change from liquid to vapour. It is characterised by three measurements - vapour pressure, flexible volatility index and distillation curve.
  • Volatility is commonly measured by RVP (Reid Vapour Pressure), which is the fuel's vapour pressure at 37.8oC. This is a measure of the fuel's more volatile components which vaporise first, known as 'front end volatility'. RVP is largely governed by the fuel's butane content, which has an RVP of around 350 kPa.
  • Although ethanol itself has an RVP less than that of petrol, its addition to petrol markedly increases the RVP of the blend, which can lead to increased evaporative emissions.
  • It is generally accepted that the peak RVP of ethanol blends occurs at around 5-10% ethanol concentration, and is about 6.5% above the RVP of neat petrol. At 20% ethanol concentration, the RVP is approximately 5% above that of neat petrol.
  • Recent life-cycle analysis work has revealed that about 4% more fuel is required in an E10 blend to achieve the same MJ/L. On an energy content basis, it is estimated that for E20 fuel consumption will increase by about 7%.
    Biofuel Trade:
  • Demand for biofuels set to rise As both developed and developing countries attempt to carve out a place for themselves in the emerging biofuels market, both supply and demand of these alternative fuels are expected to rise dramatically.
  • World production of ethanol increased from less than 20 billion litres in 2000 to over 40 billion litres in 2005. This represents around 3 per cent of global petrol use. Production of biofuels is forecasted to almost double again by 2020.
    Opportunities and the role of international trade
  • This budding market presents many opportunities for developing countries where biofuels may be produced most easily and cheaply, although different countries will enjoy different opportunities and biofuels may not be the most appropriate option for all of them.
  • International trade in biofuels and feedstocks may provide win-win solutions. For several importing countries it is a necessary precondition for meeting the domestic blending targets.
  • For exporting countries, especially small and medium sized developing countries, export markets are necessary to augment local demand while initiating their industries.

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