The oil ministry on Monday launched commercial sale of ‘swadeshi diesel’ with the aim of reducing oil imports and carbon emission as well as providing alternative or additional source of income for farmers.
Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan launched the sale of diesel blended with 5% non-edible oil extracted from palm stearin, at Delhi, Vishakhapatnam, Vijayawada and Haldia. The blended fuel has been named B5.
“We want to extend the programme to all over the country but such a move will depend on the availability of bio-diesel,” he told reporters. Use of bio-diesel will not only help cut carbon emissions but will also cut reliance on imports. India imports 80% of its oil needs.
Pradhan launched the sale of B5 at petrol stations and also announced that bulk users like Railways, Defence and State Road Transport undertaking can directly procure bio-diesel and blend it with diesel as per their needs.
“For a nationwide rollout, we will need 3.5 million tonne of bio-diesel but current production capacity in the country is only 1 million tonne. So there is a mismatch, and availability will decide on when the programme will spread to other parts.”
A Bio-diesel Purchase Policy was announced in January 2006 to encourage production of bio-diesel in the country for blending it with diesel with the objective of increasing energy security and meeting other emission and environment objectives
Pradhan said the oil companies will this month float a tender to procure bio-diesel and rates will be fixed as per bids received. He said blending of bio-diesel up to 5 per cent in diesel does not requirement any technological interventions at both the vehicle and diesel manufacturing.
On similar lines, a programme for 5% blending of sugarcane-extracted ethanol in petrol is currently on. “But the average is only 3% due to availability issues,” he said.
A Bio-diesel Purchase Policy was announced in January 2006 to encourage production of bio-diesel in the country for blending it with diesel with the objective of increasing energy security and meeting other emission and environment objectives. But the scheme never took off.
The Cabinet in January this year decided to roll it out again and allowed private bio-diesel manufacturers, their dealers and authorised joint-venture companies to sell the fuel directly to consumers.