Gurvinder Singh

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 9

In order to deal with impending fossil fuel crisis, biodiesel offers a new hope. Scientist at Centre of Excellence of Farm Machinery (COEFM) functioning under the CSIR and CMERI have come up with biodiesel that can be developed from plant-based raw materials, including neem, mahua, tung seeds, jojoba, jatropha seeds and non-edible oil, among others.

Dr Krishnendu Kundu, a scientist said, “Biodiesel can be used in the same machinery which runs on diesel. It produces 50 per cent less carbon monoxide, 50 per cent lesser particulate matter, 25 per cent less hydrocarbons and zero sulphur dioxide as compared to normal diesel emissions. Nitrogen dioxide emissions are marginally higher by one to six per cent. As overall emissions are much less and biodiesel can be developed from different sources, it has a better future.”

Dr Harish Hirani, director, CMERI, said further research has been done to improve the plant apart. He said research was going on to convert glyceroil which is a byproduct into glycerine.

Now, the centre would extend its technology transfer to help set up small scale manufacturing units for biofuel. An official said raw material costs around Rs40 per litre, apart from Rs13 for chemicals used. He said manufacturers can still earn a decent income of Rs5 to Rs8 per litre and around 600 litres fuel can be manufactured daily.

“Overall cost of the unit, including services provided by the centre is around Rs6 to 7 lakhs. Importing this equipment from abroad costs around Rs 30 lakh,” he said.

Some of the companies, including a Ludhiana-based firm have been transferred the the technology for setting up units. A noted tractor company has also started using 20 per cent biodiesel in their overall consumption, said Dr Kundu.

Apart from entrepreneurial opportunity, biodiesel reduces emissions and also utilizes waste non-edible oil, he added.

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