The Indian Institute of Petroleum (CSIR-IIP), the Dehradun-based laboratory under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, has launched a major scheme to lure households and small-time restaurants to part with used cooking oil (UCO).

As per the project, to be launched officially by January end next year, households and restaurants collecting and handing over used cooking oil will be given either 5 litres of biodiesel or 1 litre of edible oil for every 10 litres of UCO. This UCO would then be used for producing biodiesel, said Neeraj Atray, a senior scientist with CSIR-IIP, during a workshop here last week.

To begin with, the scheme has been launched in Dehradun early this month as part of the Central government’s Repurposing Used Cooking Oil (RUCO) initiative. “Apart from collecting the used cooking oil for making biodiesel, it would also help to create awareness about adverse health impact of using cooking oil for repeated frying,” said Atray. It is being jointly carried out with Gati Foundation, an NGO based in Dehradun.

The programme has huge potential considering that Indian households consume as much as 1000 crore litres of edible oil annually. Add to this, another 666 crore litres oil used by food business operators. A sizeable part of the oil used in the homes or restaurants are used for frying and used repeatedly leading to serious health conditions.

“We are sensitising students in Kendriya Vidyalayas in the city as well as restaurants. In December, we have been able to collect 800 litres of UCO. As many as 15-20 restaurants and caterers have come forward, the CSIR-IIP scientist said. So far, they were given Rs 20 per litre of UCO. Once the project becomes full-fledged, people who participate can get either 5 litres of biodiesel or 1 litre of vegetable in exchange for 10 litres of UCO. While restaurants can use the biodiesel for running their generators, households can use vegetable oil for cooking.

Around Dehradun, the institute is already talking to various army cantonment areas and restaurants in other hill stations around. “Almost all of them have evinced interest to join the programme, he said adding that this would be of tremendous benefit to environment as flowing away the used oil in the drain pollute water sources.

The institute, which has developed the technology for biodiesel making and transferred to 11 plants currently operating in the country, plans to expand the programme to other parts of the country and are on the lookout for NGOs that can work with them for the collection of the used oil. “Delhi-NCR would be one of the first. We have already tied up with an NGO there, which will take up the responsibility for collecting UCO,” Atray said. Other cities would follow soon.

Eventually, the plan is to follow the Chinese model, said a source. China, which too have a huge UCO collection programme, gives people 1 litre of edible oil for every 5 litres of UCO supplied.

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