Niti bats for methanol as a fuel for cooking and transport

By December 18, 2018March 20th, 2019India Methanol, Methanol Vehicles

THE HANS INDIA |   Dec 18,2018 , 03:45 AM IST

New Delhi: To promote clean energy, Niti Aayog is pushing for the use of methanol as cooking fuel in households as well as transport fuel, a member of the government think tank said on Monday. The Aayog is in talks with the states of Uttar Pradesh and Assam over distribution of 20,000 and 50,000 gas stoves, respectively, powered by methanol, Niti Aayog Member V K Saraswat said.

“We are also looking at the use of methanol as cooking fuel and have provided methanol cooking stoves to 500 households inside the Assam Petro Complex as a pilot project. After Assam, we are working with the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh to cover areas in the eastern Uttar Pradesh and then will cover western region of Maharashtra, including Pune region,” he told reporters here.

A plant each would be set up in Bengaluru and Assam for manufacturing methanol cooking stoves based on a technology sourced from Sweden, he said. Large stoves for commercial use will be imported till technology is developed locally.

Methanol is a clear and colourless liquid produced from natural gas, coal and a wide range of renewable feedstock. Also known as wood alcohol, methanol is naturally occurring and biodegradable. Saraswat said that India is ready for 15 per cent blending of methanol with petrol and the Aayog will soon bring a Cabinet note to make it mandatory for passenger vehicles to run on methanol-mixed petrol.

“Cost of petrol will come down by Rs 3-4 per litre when we would make it mandatory for passenger vehicles to run on petrol blended with 15 per cent methanol,” he said. The Niti Aayog member also announced that the Road Transport and Highways Ministry will introduce 60 buses which will run on methanol.

“These buses will be initially imported and are likely to hit the road in six months,” he said. Saraswat, former Defence Research and Development Organisation chief, said India will commission nine ships that will work on methanol and the country has already issued rules for methanol vessels. He also pointed out that Coal India has identified 14 blocks for the production of methanol from coal. “We expect by 2022, we will have indigenous coal-based methanol production in the country. Currently we need imported methanol and the process of seeking tender from the outside world has started,” he said.

“We will require 10 million tonnes of methanol by 2022,” Saraswat added. In a bid to lower crude oil import bill, Saraswat said that the government will also promote coal gasification to convert high ash coal into methanol that can be used as cooking gas and transportation fuels. The Aayog has drawn out a comprehensive plan to replace 20 per cent of crude imports with methanol alone.