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Please help make the Manifesto better, or accept it, and propagate it!

 Can some one focus on why this technical revolution did not take off.. and 
if it really helps, presuming all the information factual, what we can do to
any one to implement this in India !


NEW DELHI, JUNE 15: Twenty-five years ago, Nirmal N Saigal,
inventor-technocrat, approached the government to formulate a policy on
ethanol as an alternative fuel. Since then, most countries have woken up to
the virtues of ethanol. But the government is yet to come up with a policy.
This despite the fact that India is a sugarcane surplus country -- one of
the main sources of ethanol.
Saigal, an automobile engineer, had invented a multiple fuel device (MFD)
and patented it (No.141054). He claims his device enables a vehicle to
switch to any mode of fuel without entailing much modifications to the
engine. ``With the help of the MFD, a petrol car can run on diesel, kerosene
or any other fuel,'' says Saigal.
Saigal, encouraged by the success of his MFD, thought of ethanol as an
alternative fuel and approached the government. The story ends there. ``I
have been writing to the government since the late '70s but till now the
government has not responded positively,'' says Saigal.
Ethanol (also called ethyl alcohol) -- is a renewable source of energy as it
is derived from molasses -- a by-product of sugarcane. India has a surplus
of ethanol. A point that the All India Distillers Association (AIDA) has
been trying to make since 1993. Apart from sugarcane, rice, potatoes, and
high calorific bio-mass among other things are good sources of ethanol.
Ethanol as a mode of fuel was first experimented in Brazil in the late '70s.
Since then, gasohol -- a mixture of ethanol and petrol -- as an alternative
fuel is being tried out in several countries in Europe. In Sweden, for
example, 90 per cent ethanol is mixed with 10 per cent petrol to run buses.
Experiments with alcohol-based fuel began in India way back in 1991, when
the department of the mechanical engineering of the IIT, Delhi, carried out
tests on petrol vehicles by mixing 10 per cent ethanol. The tests, carried
out on 90 vehicles of the Delhi administration, proved to be very
A report detailing the results of the tests, which was submitted to the
Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Resources (MNCER) in 1995-96, points out
improved performance of the engine apart from lower fuel consumption. Not
just that. Pollution level also substantially goes down when ethanol is
Saigal is not alone in his efforts to convince the government about the
virtues of ethanol. The AIDA has made several representations to various
ministries since 1993. ``We have been making several representations to
various ministries to use ethanol,'' says L N Batra, secretary general,
The Indian distillery industry, currently, produces only 1,200 million
litres of alcohol though it has a capacity to produce 2,800 million litres.
Says Batra: ``If the government accepts ethanol as an alternative fuel,
then, a substanial amount of foreign exchange could be saved.'' India's
import bill of crude oil for the last financial year (1999-2000) ran over Rs
50,000 crore.
Despite such a huge import bill, why is the government still deliberating on
the use of ethanol? All that a senior advisor to the petroleum ministry
would say is: ``The AIDA was supposed to provide us with some information
but they have not done it.''
Are there any problems in using the ethanol? Well, if one goes by what the
Maruti owner's manual says then technically there seems to be none. The
manual recommends the use of five-per cent mixing of ethanol with petrol.
``No, there is no technical problem in using ethanol. The only problem that
we might have is that the ethanol may not go to the engine. Instead, it may
go to the driver,'' says R R Gaur, Associate Head, Department of Mechanical
Engineering, IIT, Delhi.
Currently, ethanol is being used to produce alcoholic drinks. It is also
used in the chemical industry. However, experts suggest that ethanol could
be made unattractive for human consumption with the addition of some
peservatives. These preservatives give it very pungent smell and taste.
Ethanol v/s fossil fuels 
* Is more eco-friendly as the emissions of noxoius substances are lower.
Compared to conventional fuels, emissions of carbon dioxide in ethanol is
lower by 57 per cent, that of hydrocarbon is 64 per cent, and 13 per cent
lower emission of nitrogen oxides.
* Is a renewable resource as it can be easily produced from sugarcane,
molasses, potato, rice, and bio-mass among other things.
* Saves foreign exchange as the source of ethanol is easily available in
* Gives improved performance of internal combustion engines.
Copyright  2000 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd. 

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