Government to promote use of alternate fuel

New Delhi: The government of India has given top priority for promotion and use of bio-fuels, which included bio-diesel and bio-ethanol.

This was stated by the minister of state for petroleum and natural gas, Dinsha Patel, in a reply to the Rajya Sabha.

Considering the importance of promotion and use of bio-fuels for transportation, stationery and other applications, the government of India had issued a notification in July 2006 giving specific responsibilities to various Union Ministries and Departments, emphasising the use of non-edible oils such as Jatropha curcas, Pongamia Pinnata oils, etc. for production of bio-diesel and use of forest and non-forest wastelands for plantation of non-edible oil seed bearing plants.

The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas in a gazette notification in September 2006 had directed that subject to commercial viability, oil marketing companies shall sell 5 per cent ethanol blended petrol, as per Bureau of Indian Standards specification, in the notified 20 States and 4 Union Territories, comprising of the entire country except North Eastern States, J&K, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep, with effect from November 2006.

Oil Marketing Companies are procuring ethanol from indigenous producers through open tenders with validity for three years extendable by two more years. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) decided in October 2007 to make 10 per cent blending optional with immediate effect, and thereafter mandatory from October 2008.

To encourage the production of bio-diesel in the country, the ministry of petroleum and natural gas announced a bio-diesel purchase policy in October 2005, effective January 2006, which identified 20 purchase centres of the public sector oil marketing companies (OMCs) all over the country. The OMCs would purchase bio-diesel meeting the standards prescribed by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), from those bio-diesel manufacturers who register with them after satisfying the technical specifications, at a specified delivered price. Depending upon felt need and preparedness, the OMCs could also open more purchase centres.

The minister said that the ministry of new and renewable energy has sponsored research and development (R&D) projects on bio-fuels to some leading R&D Institutions. Process parameters for production of bio-diesel from jatropha curcas (Ratanjot) and Pongamia Pinnata (Karanja) have been optimized. Field trials on diesel car have been carried out with different levels of blend of bio-diesel produced from Jatropha and Pongamia with diesel. The vehicles response has been found to be comparable with diesel vehicles. A 200 litre capacity per batch-diesel reactor has been designed, fabricated and developed.