The Government of India is looking to allow blending of methanol with petrol to curb prices and pollution
The Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, has announced that the Government is looking into policies which will allow blending 15 per cent of methanol in petrol to make it cheaper and also a little less harmful for the environment. While the intention is noble, it will require utmost care in execution as methanol is a byproduct of coal and the emissions in its production can be high, thereby nullifying the original intent of cleaner fuel.
Gadkari also revealed that methanol produced from coal costs only Rs 22 per litre, whereas China is producing it at just Rs 17 per litre. The current prices of petrol, which near Rs 80 per litre in several states except Delhi are putting unnecessary strain on the common man’s pockets. Also Read: Effect Of BS-VI Grade Fuel On Vehicles In Delhi
Methanol blended petrol is already in circulation but not as widely as we would expect. Thus, the authorities will also ask oil refineries to get cracking on methanol production. There are a few factories around Mumbai which can generate methanol too. Volvo has also brought in a new engine that runs solely on methanol, which in turn, will power a pilot project of 25 buses running on it. Related: BS-VI Volvos Not Coming Until BS-VI Fuel Is Available Throughout India
The percentage of methanol in the fuel can range from 3 to 85 per cent. But to run high levels of methanol blended fuel, car engines would require several modifications to fuel lines, gaskets and other numerous internal parts.
While there is still some time in transitioning to BS-VI compliant fuel throughout the country, this move might come in handy in the short term to reduce prices of petrol and curb pollution.
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