In line with the vision to promote ethanol through their year-round activities, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) conducted their 1st Master Class titled “US experience on usage of Higher Blends of Ethanol in Transportation”. The Master class was conducted by expert speaker Mr. Brian H. West, Academic Researcher, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and was supported by the US Grain Council.
The “Master Class” initiative focussed on pedagogy and coaching style by mentoring stakeholders on various advancements in the automotive technology-related subjects & processes in the field. The session gave an overview of vehicle performance, drivability & durability database information to highlight customer experience on usage of higher blends of ethanol on existing vehicles. The program witnessed participation from several experts, academia, and other stakeholder associations.
The Master class was driven under the banner of the Ministry of Heavy Industries (MHI), Govt of India – SIAM Ethanol Awareness Campaign for the Promotion of Ethanol as a viable Transportation Fuel. India’s ethanol blending program is being monitored at the highest level of the Government and the PMO is directly monitoring the progress towards the E-20 goal of 2025.
Mr. Brian H. West retired from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 2019 after working for 31 years as an automotive engineer. He served 2 years as Group Leader for Fuels and Engines Research, after serving 9 years as Deputy Director of Fuels. His research at ORNL involved vehicles, fuels, engines, and emissions control technologies. He led portions of the Department of Energy’s Mid-Level Ethanol Blends Program, enabling EPA’s approval of the waiver allowing E15 in 2001 and newer vehicles (2010).
In the welcome address, Mr. Prashant K Banerjee, Executive Director, SIAM, said, “India embarks upon new priorities in the decarbonisation of mobility, and in its endeavour, ethanol finds a prominent place in the country’s transportation decarbonization initiative. Niti Aayog and a group of secretaries from different ministries, under Niti Aayog, mandated SIAM for promoting ethanol, starting from debunking myths around ethanol”
Giving the opening remarks, Mrs. Alejandra Danielson Castillo, Regional Director – South Asia, US Grains Council said, “We foresee a natural collaboration between the USA and India. Our goal is to provide the right technical expertise and tools, and partner with organizations to support India in moving forward with its ethanol plans. India is aggressively moving along with their ethanol roadmap and towards their journey towards the E-20 program.”
Mr. Brian H. West, Academic Researcher, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) gave a thematic presentation on “US experience on usage of Higher Blends of Ethanol in Transportation”. He presented his views on the Ethanol blending program, vehicle real-life testing, materials testing, benefits of ethanol blending, and challenges that the US faced in the journey of ethanol. He stated, “Consumer education is the key in clearing misconceptions around ethanol-blended fuels and this, will eventually help India in moving forward on the E20 roadmap.”
The session was moderated by Mr. Harjeet Singh, Chairman, SIAM two-wheeler technical committee & Executive Advisor, Hero Motocorp. Talking about the Indian perspective on ethanol, he said, “India imported 185 million tonnes of petroleum at a whopping cost of $551bn in 2021 which constituted about 85% of oil imports. A 20% blending of ethanol has the potential to save foreign exchange of Rs 30,000 crore or $4Bn per year. It will not only reduce greenhouse emissions but will also improve farmers’ income. Ethanol will also enhance the life of ICE engines. Vehicle manufacturers are moving forward in obtaining the design of E20-compatible vehicles by 2023 and fully compatible E20 vehicles by 2025. Support and incentives from the government will be necessary to make India’s journey along the ethanol roadmap successful.”
Over the years, SIAM has been engaging with governments, corporates, and various stakeholders in an effort to address newer technologies, aligned with SIAM’s objective of Building the Nation Responsibly.