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Methanol Economy Fund

NITI Aayog is planning to set up a Methanol Economy Fund in order to promote the production and usage of clean fuel. The Methanol economy Fund would be of Rs. 4000 to Rs. 5000 crores. It shall be used for the generation of safer, cheaper and pollution-free Methanol fuel. This pollution-free methanol will be manufactured by converting the coal with high ash content and stranded gas.

Candidates can know in detail about the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog on the given link.

The information on Methanol Economy Fund is imperative for candidates preparing for the Civil Services Exam.

Aspirants can cover the topics mentioned in the UPSC Syllabus by following the below-mentioned links:

Methanol Economy

What is a Methanol?

  1. Methanol is an energy-producing fuel that can be used for transportation and cooking.
  2. In the event of its increased usage, India’s oil imports bill can be cut down by about 20% over the next few years.
  3. Methanol does not have a carbon-carbon bond and is the simplest alcohol. It, therefore, does not emit Particulate Matter (PM) which is a major pollutant.
  4. Methanol could easily be produced from renewable sources like agricultural waste, biodegradable waste, forest residues, domestic bio-wastes and biodegradable wastes.
  5. Using methanol fuel would not require expensive alteration in vehicle engines so that they could function as methanol engines.

India towards Methanol Economy

  1. India has an installed Methanol Production capacity of 2 MT per annum.
  2. Various production plants have been planned to be set up by the NITI Ayog. It has planned to substitute 10% of Crude imports by 2030, by Methanol alone. This requires approximately 30MT of Methanol. Methanol & DME are substantially cheaper than Petrol and Diesel. India can potentially reduce its fuel bill by 30% by 2030.
  3. The world’s largest coal miner Coal India Limited (CIL) will set up the first coal-based methanol plant in West Bengal. NITI Aayog has also given out its proposal and a roadmap to achieve the targets of increasing the usage of methanol as a substitute to Petrol and Diesel fuels. Two plants will be commissioned in the next 3-4 years. Check out Major Coal Fields or Coal Mines in India on the linked page.
  4. India is also in the process of preparing a roadmap for introducing methanol in the inland waterways sector.
  5. India is going to implement Methanol 15 % blending program with Petrol and the cost of petrol is expected to come down immediately by 10%. India has conducted extensive discussions with Israel, which has successfully implemented a Methanol 15 (M15) blending program for Technology transfer.
  6. Global engine manufacturers like Volvo, Caterpillar, Mercedes etc. are technical consultation and collaboration with Indian players. They can help India manufacture these engines under the Make in India program. Check out the details of the Make in India Programme on the linked page.
  7. The roadmap consists of solutions to and the designing facilities to convert Biomass, Stranded gas and Coal with high ash content into Methanol. The think tank has also envisioned converting some diesel-powered railway engines to work on Methanol.

Aspirants can check out the following links to prepare for the upcoming Civil Services exam even better –

Air Pollutants – Classification, Sources and Impacts Carbon Price Explained Carbon Tax – Meaning and an Overview 
Green Climate Fund United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Green India Mission (GIM)
Climate Change In India CPCB – Central Pollution Control Board Global Environment Outlook
Green GDP Environmental Impact Assessment – EIA Smog – Definition, Types and How to Control its Impact
Focus on Biofuel – RSTV: In Depth National Clean Air Programme National Biogas and Manure Management Programme

Way Forward with Methanol Economy

  • Methanol needs to be promoted as it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions thus reducing our carbon footprint. Check out further details on Greenhouse Gasses GHGs on the linked page.
  • This eco-friendly fuel needs to promoted with the right policies and putting in place an appropriate regulatory regime.
  • The government needs to create a supportive ecosystem through both enabling infrastructures as well as a sound regulatory regime for the substantive growth of the methanol-based economy in India.

Frequently Asked Questions about Methanol Economy

What is methanol economy?

The methanol economy is a suggested future economy in which methanol and dimethyl ether replace fossil fuels as a means of energy storage, ground transportation fuel, and raw material for synthetic hydrocarbons and their products. It offers an alternative to the proposed hydrogen economy or ethanol economy.

Where is methanol produced India?

Public Sector Undertakings (PSU’s) like BHEL, CIL & SAIL are contemplating to produce Methanol though the coal route and Oil PSU’s through the stranded gas route. BHEL at Trichy, the Talcher Fertilizer plant can also produce Methanol in Large quantities in a short period of time.

Check out the difference between the Green House Effect and Global Warming on the given link.

Related Links
UPSC FAQ  Government Exams
UPSC Current Affairs Quiz  UPSC Prelims Exam
UPSC Monthly Magazine for Current Affairs IAS Eligibility

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