Union Minister Nitin Gadkari.
New Delhi: Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said the government is focussing on various kinds of eco-friendly alternative fuels, including ethanol and biodiesel, besides electric vehicles in order to cut air pollution and reduce crude oil imports that currently stand at around Rs 7 lakh crore per annum.
Gadkari said the government is looking to remove air pollution in the national capital in the next two years.
He added that moving towards green technologies would help India reduce its dependence on import of crude oil and at the same time help the agriculture sector with ingredients like sugarcane going into manufacturing of ethanol and butane.
"We are already spending around Rs 7 lakh crore on import of crude oil. At the same time there is a problem of air pollution. It is a grave problem and now is the time to resolve this important issue," Gadkari told reporters here, while speaking at the launch of the country's first ethanol-powered bike by TVS Motor Company.
He added that electric vehicles are important for the country and his ministry and the Niti Aayog are constantly pursuing this important vertical.
"Within two years, we want to remove air pollution in Delhi. So, electric buses, bikes, auto rickshaws, cars, ethanol usage is crucial," Gadkari said.
He also said the government is also looking at flexi-engines concept wherein a customer would be able to chose between traditional fuels like petrol or ethanol for his vehicle.
Gadkari added that his ministry is also going to write to the petroleum and natural gas ministry for establishing ethanol pumps, starting with regions which are rich in sugarcane production.
"There is huge potential for ethanol production in India. The ethanol economy last year stood at Rs 11,000 crore and this year, it is expected to be in the range of Rs 20,000 crore. I have dreams to make it a Rs 2-lakh crore economy," he added.
Gadkari said the aviation sector can also benefit by using butane as a fuel.
"It is a sustainable business case as we have around 200 sugar factories in Uttar Pradesh alone," he added.
The transport minister also said that for converting sugarcane juice into butane, the government can come up with refineries in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
TVS Motor Company on Friday launched ethanol-powered bike TVS Apache RTR 200 Fi E100, priced at Rs 1.2 lakh.
The company said the new model would be available for sale in sugarcane-producing Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, and Karnataka to begin with.
Currently, there are no ethanol fuelling stations in the country.
Meanwhile, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said, "We are talking about 2025-26 for EV vehicles but I am sure he (Srinivasan) will do it much quicker much faster. We always believe in partnership with the private sector and I am sure he will take the lead and become the champion of both ethanol and electric vehicles and make India a global champion," he said.
Ethanol is domestically produced from renewable plant sources. It is non-toxic, biodegradable, as well as safe to handle, store and transport.
An oxygenated fuel that contains 35 per cent oxygen, ethanol reduces nitrogen oxide emissions from combustion. It also helps reduce carbon monoxide emissions, particulate matter and sulphur-di-oxide.