In a recent meeting, the Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways & MSME, Nitin Gadkari has recently recommended to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) that they should focus more on the development of engines that run on flex-fuel. To help undertake these instructions the government has also allowed the manufacturers a budget total of more than 250 crores to sell the flex-fuel on their own fuel pumps which they are allowed to set up.
As the name suggests, flex fuels are flexible fuels. They are called so because they can be mixed with any proportion of gasoline and be used in place of traditional fuel, For e.g.- 80% Ethanol and 20% gasoline. Flex fuels are made by fermentation of sugars found organically. The only disadvantage is that it can easily be dissolved and even the slightest contamination can ruin the combustion capabilities.
The use of these fuels in vehicles was first introduced in the Ford Model T in the 1900s which had carburetors with adjustable jets which allowed the use of almost any kind of fuel which was available. Flex fuels are also less harmful to the environment as they are capable of burning much better inside the engine and in turn, are less polluting for the atmosphere.
Nitin Gadkari also said that 70% of the gasoline in the country is used by two-wheelers, and as ethanol is getting more available by each day in our country it would make more sense to develop technologies that utilize this form of fuel. The Indian government has plans to reduce the greenhouse gas emission intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 percent by the year 2030.
The new flex-fuel mix and compatible engines would make this goal achievable as they would emit lesser greenhouse gases when burning which would be more efficient and help reduce emissions. However, EVs are also growing in India but there is still a lot of ground to be covered in when compared to combustion engines which is why it only makes sense for this technology to be developed.