Railways to set up plants for converting plastic to diesel

Indian Railways will soon to set up plants to manufacture diesel for mechanical traction with technology patented by scientists at the CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum (CSIR-IIP).

Announcing this in Dehradun on Friday, Dr Harsh Vardhan, union minister for science and technology laid out the roadmap for further exploitation of opportunities in alternative fuel sources. The country's premier research establishment in hydrocarbons has achieved significant success in reducing national dependence on fossil fuels.

''I have myself campaigned on the streets of Delhi against pollution and plastic proliferation. Today, I am glad to announce that diesel conforming to Euro-5 specifications in sulphur content has become a reality thanks to the CSIR-IIP and GAIL's diligence and ingenuity,'' he said.

CSIR-IIP, which is part of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), is developing on green technologies to reduce reliance to green technologies. He said, ''At the inauguration of the Indian Science Congress in Mumbai in January, I had stated our government's resolve not to be distracted by falling oil prices by continuing to fund R&D into clean energy. I had CSIR-IIP in mind at the time because I was confident that the time when I could announce to the world this amazing news was drawing near.''

The Minister elaborated: ''We are the first to have the capability to convert 1 tonne of broken buckets, mugs, toothpaste tubes, bottle caps and other polyolefins products into 850 litres of the cleanest grade of diesel. This is the best news yet for the planet this year because henceforth plastic waste will be viewed more as a resource than a nuisance.''

The Minister, who visited the IIP's campus, inaugurated the Advanced Triblogy Research Centre. He was accompanied by Dr M.O.Garg, Director-General of CSIR who is also the Director of the prestigious establishment. Dr Sudeep Kumar, Head, PPD of CSIR and other scientists were also present.

Fuel from Jatropha
CSIR-IIP has also succeeded in producing low-carbon jet fuel from the inedible, drought-resistant Jatropha plant.

Dr Vardhan said, ''We have gone several steps ahead in developing alternative sources of jet fuel. CSIR-IIP has the knowledge to make jet fuel out of any non-edible oil – even the waste cooking oil from our kitchens is soon to become prized material in the market.''

The minister, who has initiated several renewable energy missions in the national capital, including a project to run public toilets with solar power-fuelled taps, exhaust fans and lights, said, ''We must make a social movement out of alternative fuel use. Our cultural heritage has been one of the most environment friendly.''

''Energy and environment are two side of the same coin'', he pointed out. ''I urge our scientists to constantly strive to develop new technologies and products with zero defect and zero effect which can help to produce a higher GDP per unit of energy consumed. India must be at the forefront of fighting climate change.''