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Case Title:

Alcohol Fuel: The threshold to a sustainable future?

Publication Year : 2010

Authors: S Sanyal, S Chaudhuri and K Suresh

Industry: Oil and Natural Gas


Case Code: IPD0102IRC

Teaching Note: Not Available

Structured Assignment: Not Available

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Against the backdrop of issues regarding food security, environmental pollution, fuel crisis and expansion of biotechnology stepped in the debatable alternative to gasoline - alcohol fuel. Its agricultural origin extended its utility and even curbed it. On one hand was the scope for expanding the market for farmers, coupled with cost-effectiveness and being environment friendly. Simultaneously, all the positives had been countered on the grounds that acceptance of alcohol fuel would lead to rocketing food prices, its capacity to risk public health and controversies regarding net energy loss in production. The future of alcohol fuel bubbled in the middle of global politics and attempts to reduce dependence on imported oil. However, many countries across the globe actively engaged resources to label alcohol fuel as the future of gasoline. Moreover, alcohol fuel blended gasoline was already in use. The fate of the alternative sea-sawed between various socio-economic factors. The main debate that kept arising was if alcohol fuel was a realistic alternative at all or an endeavour to keep environmentalists happy.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To understand the reasons behind the noise around alcohol fuel and its use.
  • To analyse the global controversies surrounding this alternative.
  • To analyse the potential of alcohol fuel to be an alternative source to gasoline in an environment of rising oil prices over time.

Keywords :  Alcohol fuel, Ethanol, Environmentalists, Energy, Pollution, Agriculture, Gasoline, Global-politics, Ethanol-blend, Sustainable, Automobile, Fuel crisis, Net energy, Farmers

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