A city-based business has now joined the country’s select few firms manufacturing biodiesel, a recognised diesel replacement made from recycled fatty acids that are generated from organic resources.
The fuel known by its scientific name methyl ester can be a game-changer for utilizing agriculture by-products, reducing cost of running diesel engines and decreasing dependability on fossil fuels.
According to a biodiesel manufacturer’s director Nachiket Muley, “Six months ago, Aurangabad city was consuming an impressive one lakh litres of biodiesel a month blended with diesel.
The manufacturing process of biodiesel or green fuel includes converting oils and fats into chemicals called long chain mono-alkyl esters which are also referred to as fatty acid methyl or ethyl esters.
“Recycled or fresh vegetable oils and animal fats are used to produce this greenfuel,” Muley said.
Considering the density, viscosity, calorific value of biodiesel and diesel, the best way to use the green fuel is to use it in blend with diesel in a 20:80 ratio.
Muley added, “Biodiesel is indigenously produced and reduces the requirement of petrol and diesel import, engineer-turned entrepreneur.”
Biodiesel’s molecular structure causes the liquid to be more viscous and dense consequently working as a better lubricant. Hence, a vehicle running on biodiesel will give better performance. The fuel has oxygen molecules as it is produced from a plant which allows complete combustion and thereby causing less sulphur dioxide and particulate matter in emission. A mixture of 20% biodiesel with 80% petro-diesel reduces air pollutants by at least 20% - 40%, according to a source report.
Debashree Chakraborty in her report for Central Pollution Control Board lists non-edible oils obtained from plant species such as Jatropha curcas (Ratanjyot), Pongamia pinnata (Karanj), rubber, sugarcane and algae as the main source of biodiesel in India. Rapeseed, sunflower, soybean, castor and maize are also used for making the greenfuel.
Muley is trying to increase awareness about the fuel and reach out to farmers in rural areas.
“The use of biodiesel ensures that the farmers’ produce is used in the manufacturing the fuel forming a complete cycle of the economy,” Muley explains.