24. March 2022 Meghan Sapp

IEEFA study says India’s land would be better use for solar than for ethanol

In India, India’s 2025 target for 20% ethanol blending in petrol requires large increases in ethanol from sugar and grains. A new report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) shows that generating solar energy to recharge electric vehicle (EV) batteries would be a far more efficient use of land than growing crops for ethanol.

The report shows that matching the distance driven by EVs recharged from one hectare of solar generation would require ethanol derived from up to 251 hectares of sugar cane or 187 hectares of maize – even accounting for losses from electricity transmission, battery charging and grid storage.

Enhancing goals for EV uptake could meet many of the goals set out in India’s Roadmap for Ethanol Blending – cutting emissions and air pollution, supporting domestic agricultural demand, and reducing the drain on India’s foreign exchange by limiting oil imports – while using a fraction of the land, according to the report.