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Petrol Blended with E10 (Bio-ethanol) in Nepal


1. Statement of the problem
2. Objectives
3. Review of relevant literature
4. Conceptual framework
5. Research questions
6. Sources and data collection
7. Importance of the study
8. Budget and manpower

1. Statement of the Problem

The importance of energy in our day-to-day life hardly needs any emphasis. Modern
society cannot exist without the production and utilization of energy. There is practically
no activity in the world which can be described without invoking the transfer or
transformation of energy. As we have no source of fossils fuels, we are totally dependent
on other countries for it. The total quantity of petrol imported in our country for few
years is given below:

Table 1.1 Consumption of petrol in Nepal

2060/2061 67,965
2061/2062 76,097
2062/2063 81,817
2063/2064 98,435
6064/2065 101,624
Source: Nepal Oil Corporation, official web site.

The energy resources of Nepal consist of a combination of traditional and commercial

sources of energy such as hydropower and renewable forms of energy. The total energy
consumption in Nepal for 1992/93 amounted to 271 million GJ. Fuel wood represents
78% of energy consumption, which are mainly consumed in rural areas. Nepal, with a per
capita energy consumption of about 15 GJ, is one of the five least energy-consuming
countries in the world. Share of the rural areas in total energy-consumption of the country
is about 87%. Rural residential sector accounts for 89% of the total rural energy
consumption. However, if only commercial energy (including new and renewable
energy) is considered, then the rural areas consumes only 30% of total

Nepal has to spend about 40% of its total income generated through its overseas exports
for importing commercial energy sources. Since, the energy demand is increasing by
7.5% annually; deficiency in energy supply is growing continuously. At present micro-
hydropower, solar thermal, solar electricity, biomass and wind energy are considered
appropriate alternates of traditional energy sources in the Nepalese context.

With the steadily increasing demand for liquid fuels and the decreasing supply of
petroleum crude oil, researchers have been forced to look to alternative fuels in order to
fulfill the future demands for liquid fuels. Recent events throughout the world, including
the shortage of petroleum crude oil, the sharp increase in the cost of oil and gasoline
motor fuels, and the political instability of some crude oil producing countries, have
demonstrated the vulnerability of the present sources for liquid fuel. Nevertheless, even if
these supply and economic risks were acceptable, it is clear that worldwide product of
petroleum products at projected levels can neither keep pace with the increasing demand
nor continue indefinitely. It is becoming increasingly evident that the time will soon

come when there will have to be a transition to resources which are more plentiful and
preferably renewable.
It has long been recognized that ethanol may under the proper conditions be useful as a
liquid fuel capable of performing equal to, if not better than, conventional petroleum

From above table we can make sense that the money which we spend to buy fossil fuel is
very high. To lessen the dependent on foreign countries for fossil fuels and to save
money, countries like Brazil and other developing countries are using ethanol blended
petrol. Even in our country, where we have large number of sugar factories producing
Molasses, we too can introduce adding 10% of ethanol in petrol.

2. Objectives
The objectives of this proposal are to find out the feasibility of blending 10% Ethanol,
produced locally in Petrol. The question to be answered is as follows:

1. Testing of technical parameters of Petrol, diesel, Kerosene.

2. Feasibility of blending 10 % ethanol (E10) produced locally in petrol.
3. Establishment of laboratory to check the technical parameters required for proper
functioning of blended petrol with ethanol, petrol, diesel and kerosene.
4. Equipment and apparatus used for quality testing of ethanol blended petrol.
5. Study of raw materials to produce ethanol locally, their capacity of production.

3. Review of Relevant Literature

3.1 Ethanol and its Production
Ethanol is the second species in the series of straight-chained alkyl alcohols, methanol
being the lightest, with the chemical formula C2H5OH. Compared to petrol, which is a
complex mix of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and chemical structures,
ethanol is a simple, discrete chemical compound. The presence of the oxygen atom in
ethanol makes it a polar molecular unlike hydrocarbons and results in some significantly
different properties compared to petrol.

The most common means of producing large quantities of transport fuel ethanol is by the
fermentation of sugars derived from agricultural biomass. By comparison with fossil
fuels the energy density available in biomass is very low. Consequently, the task of
feedstock production and collection is proportionately much greater in the overall scheme
for producing ethanol than is the case for transport fuel production from fossil fuels.
Also, the choice of biomass crop and cost of biomass depend on a wide range of factors
not normally associated with the production of conventional fuels: principally on the
climatic and geographic conditions, which determine crop yields, and the opportunity
value of the land used and the value of byproducts produced. All these can vary
considerably over quite short geographic distances as can the quality of the feedstock.
Consequently, the economics and cost of ethanol production can be both complicated due
to the costs elements involved and variable due to the dependence of geographical
location. Costs and inputs of production can therefore vary considerable from situation to

There are four principal steps in the sugar fermentation process:

1. Feedstock Preparation: Variations in production required for different raw materials
occur mainly in this first process stage, the output of which is a solution of fermentable
sugars, the input to the next process stage. The design of the first stage, therefore reflects
the variations that exist in the biochemical composition of the raw materials. For
example, sugar crops have less complexity than starch crops such as barley, maize and
wheat, which must be converted to simple sugars by hydrolysis and saccharification
before fermentation can take place. Feedstock preparation, therefore, comprises
extraction of sugar and/or starch from the raw material, conversion of starch to sugars,
and cleans up of the sugar solutions for the following fermentation stage.
2. Fermentation: Fermentation is common to all feedstocks, converting the sugars to
ethanol and carbon dioxide by the action of yeast. Because the reaction produces heat, the
process must be cooled to maintain the reaction rate and lower evaporative losses of
ethanol. Whilst the formation of ethanol and carbon dioxide is the principal reaction, side
reactions do occur, producing, for example, glycerol, acetic acid, lactic acid, fusel oils
and furfural. Traditional processes use batch fermentation, the process being completed

when the limiting ethanol concentration is reached and the yeast cells rapidly die. More
modern plants utilize yeast recycling, reducing fermentation time for higher yields and
efficiencies, which result in a more compact plant design and higher production rates.
Alternatively, continuous processes are available allowing higher conversion rates.
3. Distillation: The mixture resulting from fermentation contains 7 to 9% ethanol, which
is stripped from the broth by distillation. Tradition distillation technology produces a
95% ethanol-water azeotropes, the maximum attainable grade. For blending with petrol,
final dehydration distillation is required whereby the azeotropes is distilled in the
presence of an entrainer such as cyclohexane, benzene, toluene or pentane to produce an
ethanol of 99.95% purity. More modern plants use molecular sieve technology to
dehydrate the ethanol, reducing the energy consumption of this step in the process by
about half.
4. By-Products Utilization and Waste Disposal: The waste stream may be further
processed to recover valuable by-products such as food products from the wet milling of
maize and protein-rich animal feed from stillage. Stillage is the liquid effluent from the
distillation columns and contains the non-sugar components after fermentation along with
small quantities of yeast and other organic by-products of fermentation. The disposal of
this material can add to the costs of production if its potential as a stock food, fuel or
fertilizer cannot be realized.

Presently, in Nepal we have few Sugar industries, which can supply us, alcohol for these
purposes. The few sugar factories of Nepal are listed in table below:

Table. 3.1 List of Sugar factories in Nepal

Eastern Sugar Mills Ltd
Indu Shankar Sugar Ind. (P) Ltd
Everest Sugar & Chemicals Industries
Shree Mahalaxmi Sugar Ltd
Sriram Sugar Mills Ltd
Birgunj Sugar Factory Limited
Mahendra Sugar & General Industries (P)

3.2. 10 % Ethanol blended petrol E10

Ethanol can be used satisfactorily as a blending component in petrol, having high octane
numbers and two-thirds the energy content of petrol.

Modern vehicles will generally operate satisfactorily on blends of up to 10% ethanol in

petrol and have been designed to have fuel systems materials compatible with blends.
[John Duncan 2002]
A specification for an ethanol blend should cover the same range of properties as petrol
along with recognition of the water stability issues and the potential for corrosive
byproducts in ethanol. The approach most technically consistent with vehicle
performance and environmental requirements is to have the same range of technical
limits for ethanol blends as for petrol. A 10 vol % maximum ethanol concentration is
appropriate because of vehicle performance and compatibility and consistency with
international experience.

Ethanol can be blended into petrol and used in unmodified spark ignition vehicles.
However, the intrinsic differences in chemical and physical properties between ethanol
and the hydrocarbon components of petrol place constraints on the proportion of ethanol
that can be successfully blended.
• Ethanol has good properties for use in spark ignition engines, having a relatively
high octane rating, although the oxygen component imparts significantly different
combustion characteristics to petrol, having a colder flame temperature,
significantly reduced energy density, a lower required air fuel ratio and different
exhaust emission characteristics. Increasing the proportion of ethanol in a blend
with petrol will progressively alter the properties of the blend and impact on the
operability of vehicles.
• Whilst pure ethanol is a much less volatile liquid than petrol; it will form
azeotropes when mixed with petrol, particularly at low concentrations, causing a
marked increase in the vapor pressure of the host petrol. This has implications for
vehicle operation and the resultant specification of fuel volatility.
• Due to the difference in polarity between ethanol and petrol, blends of the two
can be unstable, particularly if water is present or at low temperatures, resulting in
the blend separating in two phases, one rich in ethanol and the other rich in
hydrocarbons. A separated blend will not function adequately in a vehicle,
necessitating a water-free blend supply and distribution system.
• Ethanol can be a renewable fuel, produced from agricultural biomass, with the
carbon dioxide formed during fuel combustion notionally resequestrated in the
source crop. This recycling process is not completely efficient, as fuel must be
consumed during the manufacture of the ethanol and the cropping of the biomass
feedstock. Petrol is derived from a non-renewable mineral reserve.
• Ethanol is a moderately toxic material, although there is widespread experience in
its use as methylated spirits and potable alcohol.

• Ethanol has different chemical properties to petrol and will degrade some
nonmetallic materials that may be used in vehicle fuel systems.

Some important physico-chemical properties of ethyl alcohol in comparison with those of

petrol are shown in table.

Table 3.2.1 Physico-chemical properties of ethyl alcohol and petrol

Properties Ethanol Petrol
Molecular weight 46 100-125
Specific gravity at 15.6 degree C 0.794 0.74
Viscosity at 20 degree C, cps 1.2 0.55
Flash point (Open cup) C 16.1
Heating Value
1. k.Cal/kg 6420 11000
2. BTU/lb 12800 20250
Latent heat of vaporization k.Cal/kg 200 80
Octane Number
1. RON 106 83
2. MON 89 77
Cetane Number <10 10-15
Stoichiometric air/fuel mass ratio 8.97 14.50
Boiling temperature degree C
1. Initial Boiling Point 78 30-40
2. Final Boiling Point - 180-215
RVP at 37.8 C, psi 2.8 6.1
Source: G.B Singh and S.Solomon, Sugarcane Agro-Industrial Alternatives, 1981

Table 3.2.2 lists some theoretically calculated heat value data of different petrol: alcohol

Petrol: Alcohol ratio Heating Value (BTU/lb)

100:0 20250
90:10 19505
80:20 18760
70:30 18015
60:40 17270
50:50 16525
40:60 15780
30:70 15055
20:80 14545
10:90 13545
0:100 12800
Source: G.B Singh and S.Solomon, Sugarcane Agro-Industrial Alternatives, 1981

As per ASTM D4806 “Standard Specification for Denatured Fuel Ethanol for Blending
with Gasoline for Use as Automotive Spark-Ignition Engine Fuel”. The ASTM
specification is as follows:

Table 3.2.3 Specification of E10 as per ASTM

Ethanol, volume %, min 92.1 ASTM D5501
Methanol, volume %, max 0.5
Existent Gum, (solvent washed)
mg/100mL, max 5.0 ASTM D381
Water Content, volume %, max 1.0 ASTM E203
Denaturant content, volume %, min 1.96 max 5.0
Inorganic Chloride Content, mg/L, max 32 ASTM D512
Copper Content, mg/kg, max 0.1 ASTM D1688
Acidity (as acetic acid), mass %, max 0.007 ASTM D1613
pH 6.5 to 9.0 ASTM D6423
Sulfur, mass p.p.m, max 30.
max 4 ASTM D7319,
Sulfate, mass p.p.m, D7328
Visibly free of suspended
or precipitated
contaminants, clear and
Appearance bright

Pic. Blending process of E10 with Petrol

ETHANOL Blending Process



E10 Fuel

Automatic in-line blending

Fuel Station
Storage Tank

Source: SIAM

3.3. Performance of IC Engines using alcohol: Gasoline


Technical feasibility of the use of power alcohol: petrol mixtures as a motor car fuel are
well established in Brazil, Europe and the U.S.A. The reports published from these
countries indicated that no engine modification may be necessary for admixture up to 20
percent alcohol with petrol. The heating value of ethyl alcohol is 6420 kCal/kg and that
of petrol is about11000 kCal/kg. The latent heat of vaporization is 200kCal/kg and
80kCal/kg, respectively. The ratio of energy content in one kg of petrol to that in one kg
of ethyl alcohol is equal to 1.67.
Ethyl alcohol has 2.5 times more latent heat of vaporization than petrol which is
primarily responsible for the increased power output with alcohol. Petrol is composed of
a variety of molecules having boiling points generally ranging from 40 degree C to 200
degree C. In colder countries, initial boiling point is still lower. Ethyl alcohol, in contrast,
is composed of like molecules with a single boiling point of 78 degree C. Ethyl alcohol
lacks the light ends in 40 to 50 degree C boiling range, which are essential for cold start
ability of the engine. The ASTM distillation curves of alcohol-petrol blends (10% to
20%) have revealed that ethyl alcohol, in a blend, evaporates at one temperature only,
thus giving a flat region in the distillation curve of the blends, which can affect the warm-
up period of an engine. Therefore, the problem of start ability with mixtures of ethyl
alcohol and petrol will depend upon the alcohol content in the blend and ambient
The most desirable feature of the ethyl alcohol is its anti-knock quality in a SI engine.
The Research Octane Number (RON) of ethyl alcohol is 106. Alcohol increases both
RON and MON (Motor Octane Number) of the alcohol petrol blends. Addition of 10 %
ethyl alcohol to petrol has been reported to raise the RON’s of blend by 5.7 octane
Admixture of ethyl alcohol to petrol may be well compared with reducing the amount of
fuel in the intake charge of an engine carbureted for petrol combustion only. This leaning
of intake charge may alter the exhaust emission as under:

1. Carbon monoxide emissions generally decrease with the use of alcohol-petrol

blends due to the leaning of the mixture.
2. Nitrogen oxide emissions are also expected to lower down as peak combustion
temperature are lowered because of reduced charge temperature arising from
higher latent heat of vaporization of alcohol.
3. Unburnt hydrocarbon fuel emissions are not likely to be altered significantly.
Aldehyde emissions are likely to increase.

The calorific value of petrol goes on decreasing with increased proportion of alcohol in
the mixture. Despite this, the alcohol-petrol blends have the following advantages over

• A better anti-knock property, i.e., higher octane number.

• Easier to start the engine in cold
• A higher compression
• Less carbon deposit
• Reduced environmental pollution.

• The power output equals that of petrol alone and corrosion effects are also not
more than those of petrol.

Table Proposed Regulated Ethanol Specification for Blending

Property Unit Limit Test Method

Denaturant content volume %, min 1
volume %,
Denaturant content max 1.5
Ethanol volume %, min 95.6 ASTM D 5501
volume %,
Methanol max 0.5 ASTM D 5501
mg/100 ml,
Solvent-washed gum max 5 ASTM D 381
ASTM D 4806 Annex A1
Sulphate mg/kg, max 4 – A3
volume %,
Water content max 1 ASTM D 203
ASTM D 512C (as
Inorganic Chloride modified in ASTM D
content mg/L, max 32 4806)
ASTM D 1688A (as
modified in ASTM D
Copper content mg/kg, max 0.1 4806)
Acidity (as acetic acid
CH3COOH) mass %, max 0.007 ASTM D 1613
pHe 6.5 – 9.0 ASTM D 6423
Clear and bright
Appearance without particles ASTM D 4806

Source: Ministry of economic Development, New Zealand,

Positive impacts of blending ethanol with petrol were found by many researchers
working in this field, which are as follows:

 Reduces vehicle emissions (CO,HC), Green house gases (CO2) & protects
environment from climate change effects.
 Less dependence on petroleum products & reduces imports of crude oil.
 Greater use of biofuels brings oil market in to balance & reduces oil prices.
 Increases National energy security.
 Locally produced biofuels can provide energy for local agricultural, industrial &
household uses at less than the cost of fossil fuels.
 Replaces bad gasoline additives (MTBE & lead) which are sources of surface &
ground water contamination & dangerous to human health.

 Substantial increase in employment opportunities in the rural sector.

 Increases net farm income & strengthens rural & agricultural economies.
 Greening of wastelands & regeneration of forest lands.

3.4 Health and Safety while using Ethanol blended


Ethanol blends are virtually indistinguishable from petrol in terms of hazard and safety
although some changes to fire fighting materials would be required. Ethanol itself is rated
as a poisonous substance so a denaturant is added and it has somewhat different
flammability properties to petrol. It is a commonly used solvent and the oil industry is
well experienced in handling substances with similar properties.
Generally, the health and safety effects of ethanol and its blends are no worse than those
of hydrocarbon fuels. The properties of ethanol are well understood from the perspective
of toxicity and hazard. Whilst the addition of ethanol to hydrocarbon fuels may
necessitate changes to procedures and equipment used for handling hydrocarbons, the oil
industry is experienced in dealing with such hazards and will have no problems
conforming to any new requirements. These are outlined:

Toxicity: Although ethanol is rated as a poisonous substance, it is generally regarded as

one of the safer industrial solvents. It has narcotic effects, so denaturants are added to
reduce its potability. A range of denaturants is used although not all are appropriate for
fuel grade ethanol. Hydrocarbon fuels have a similar poisons rating to ethanol.
Consequently, the handling requirements for ethanol, hydrocarbon fuels and blends are
similar although there are some differences in recommended first aid treatment.

Flammability: Whilst ethanol has a relatively low flash point (12oC) necessitating the
same storage considerations as petrol, its flammability limits in air (3.5-19%) are much
wider than hydrocarbons (1.5-8% for petrol). The equilibrium vapour content of ethanol
in air is within this range at ambient temperature, requiring that spark arrestors be built
into ethanol storage tanks. The concentrations of hydrocarbon fuel vapour in air are
usually above flammability levels at ambient temperatures. However, when tanks
containing these fuels are emptied, vapour concentrations can fall to within the explosive
limits, requiring the same precautions to be taken with these fuels as with ethanol to
isolate flame sources and to use flameproof equipment. The flash point of ethanol blends
will be much the same as conventional petrol (with a flash <30 oC) as the flash point of
fuel is determined by small quantities of the lowest flash point material in the mixture,
which in the case of ethanol blends will be a component of the hydrocarbon blendstock.
There will be no significant implications on dangerous goods classification and resultant
requirements for product storage and handling.

Flame Luminosity: Neat ethanol has a low flame luminosity compared to hydrocarbon
fuels which burn with a bright yellow flame. This can make identification of ethanol fires
difficult in sunlight. However, the addition of small quantities of hydrocarbon to the
ethanol will quickly colorize the flame. This property can be provided by the selection of
a denaturant with good flame luminosity. Petrol, with its wide boiling range, will be an
ideal for this purpose as it will tend to maintain luminosity over an extended period
during a fire. It follows that ethanol blends will have a similar flame luminosity to petrol.

Fire Fighting: The differences in chemical properties between ethanol and hydrocarbons
require that some changes be made to fire fighting equipment and techniques. Protein fire
fighting foams are not suitable for use with ethanol and ethanol blends. They must be
replaced with alcohol resistant or universal foams. Water can be used to deal with fires in
thin pools of ethanol, extinguishing the flame by diluting the ethanol. However, water is
not suitable with blends as the immiscible hydrocarbon component will continue burning
whilst floating on the water.

4. Quality Lab for testing technical parameters

The detailed requirements for any fuels are as follows:

1. Flash Point
2. Water & Sediment % Vol. Max
3. Distillation temperature
4. Kinematic Viscosity
5. Ash Content
6. Sulphur
7. Copper strip corrosion rating Max
8. Density at 15 C
9. Pour Point
(Perry: handbook for chemical engineer)

When 10% Alcohol is blended with Gasoline, the following properties are affected:
• Distillation characteristics
• Ignition temperature
• Flash Point
• Reid vapor pressure
• Vapor lock index (or) Flexible volatility Index
• Oxygen content
• Octane number & rating
• Density
• Water Tolerance
• Calorific Value
• Stoichiometric air/fuel ratio (not controlled in the standards)
• Kinetic viscosity- It will be measured by using Viscosity meter.
• Flash point- It will be measured by using Abel's Flash point Apparatus.

• Density- It will be measured by using Density meter.

• Water content in oil- It will be measured by using Karl fisher’s titration set.
• Ash value- It will be measured by using oven.

Technical parameters of Ethanol, Petrol and Blended petrol with ethanol should be tested.
Following are the parameters which are suppose to be known before and after blending
ethanol with petrol. They are:

Sn. Parameter Process/Method Apparatus Remark

1 Reid Vapor Pressure
2 Vapor Lock Index
3 Oxygen Content
4 Octane Number and Rating
5 Density
6 Water Tolerance
7 Flash Point
8 Calorific Value
9 Ignition temperature
10 Emissions
i. Tailpipe
ii. Evaporative
iii. Greenhouse gas
11 Ash Value Oven

Other parameters like toxicity, flammability, flame luminosity, fire fighting should be
experimented well.

4.1 Equipment and Apparatus

List of equipments and apparatus to check petroleum product are given in table below:

Table4.1.1 List of equipments for testing Petroleum Product

SN Equipments Standard

Digital Conductivity Meter for the measurement of

1 Electrical Conductivity of Jet Aviation fuels ASTM D2624

Standard Fluid Sampling Kit for sampling jet aviation fuels

2 for the determination of particulate contamination ASTM D 2276

3 Kinematic Viscometer Bath for the Determination of ASTM D 445.


Kinematic Viscosity of Transparent And Opaque Petroleum


Distillation unit for the determination of final boiling point of

4 transparent and opaque petroleum liquids ASTM D86

5 Automatic Distillation Unit for the Petroleum Products ASTM D 86

Determination of Vapor Pressure and Vapor Lock Index in ASTM D

6 Gasoline according to Reid 323/5191

Existent Gum Apparatus for the detection of Existent and

7 potential Gum of Aviation Fuel and Gasoline ASTM D 381

Automatic Kinematic Viscometer for the detection of

8 Kinematic Viscosity of High Speed Diesel ASTM D 445

5. Sources and data collection

Data, related to fossil fuels can be obtained from Nepal Oil Corporation, NOC, which
was established on 10th January 1970 by the Government of Nepal under the "Company
Act, 2021 (1964)" as a state owned trading enterprise to deal with the import, storage and
distribution of various Petroleum Products in the country.
The consumption data and other primary and secondary information can be obtained from
Regarding, ethanol production, we can find the total production of Molasses from sugar
factory. The list of sugar factory functioning in Nepal is given in Table 3.1.

6. Importance of the study

The natural sources of energy in the world like wood, coal and petroleum crude is
depleting very fast and it is estimated that the world’s oil resources may be totally
consumed by the middle of the next century. Oil prices are increasing steadily and the
forecast with respect to its availability in the future is very bleak. Consequently, it is
imperative that we seriously look into alternate fuels for the replacement of oil, especially
in the transportation sector.

Ethanol is commonly produced from sugar and starch crops by fermentation and
distillation. Maize and sugar beet have been identified as the most effective crops from
which to produce ethanol in Nepal with potential output many times the required
quantities for blending ethanol into petrol. The ethanol requirement to replace all petrol
with a 10 vol % blend of ethanol (E10) is ------- million liters annually. Estimated cost of
production is at least twice the price of petrol imports.

Issues to be Resolved

 Adequate Ethanol is not available.

 Sugarcane crop being seasonal, ethanol availability as well as price become
 Blending methodology is not standardized
 Existing Handling, Storage, dispensing & retail Distribution systems are not
compatible with E10 blended gasoline
 Requires some specialized foam technologies to fight E10 fire hazards.