Government mulling to blend up to 10% green fuels in diesel; move aimed at conserving fossil fuels
The government will soon initiate inter-ministerial consultations before the Cabinet takes a final view on the matter, officials said.
NEW DELHI: The government plans to conserve finite fossil fuel by initially announcing blending of up to 10% environment-friendly biofuels in diesel for railways and defence sectors, and gradually raising its scope to all diesel vehicles, government officials and industry executives said.
The government will soon initiate inter-ministerial consultations before the Cabinet takes a final view on the matter, officials said. Biodiesel is made from virgin or used vegetable oils and animal fats, which is a diesel substitute and requires no engine modifications up to 20% blend.
Biofuel could be cost effective solution in the long run, besides significantly reducing the country’s dependence on imported oil. A Pune-based company is already selling it under Indizel brand, which is more than Rs 3 per litre cheaper than diesel, sources said.
Petroleum, road transport and new and renewable energy ministries are keen to introduce biodiesel in the transportation sector, but initially, it will be restricted to the railways and defence sectors because of limited availability of biofuels and also due to quality issues, sources said.
The sectors combine account for about 5% of diesel consumption. Biodiesel use could be later extended to mobile towers, industrial generator sets and agri-equipment, sources said.
Together they constitute about 30% of about 69 million tonne diesel sold in the country annually. The project was conceived in 2003 by the erstwhile NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Railways alone consumes over 3 crore litres of diesel worth Rs 16,000 crore annually.
"As biodiesel is marginally cheaper by Rs 3-3.5 per litre compared to diesel, it will be huge savings for railways, besides reducing the carbon footprint," one source said.
The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has already evolved a standard (IS-15607) for biodiesel, which is also known as B100 on the lines of American and European standards.