Buses to run on bio-diesel fuel

KSRTC is likely to shift from fossil fuel to higher mix of ethanol with diesel by 2010

  “There is a plan that has been put in motion to ensure that the 18,000 buses under the KSRTC will be shifted from fossil fuel to biodiesel with diesel or a higher mix of ethanol with diesel by end of next year,” said Bio-fuel Task Force, Chairman, Y B Ramakrishna here on Friday.

Currently, the KSRTC and BMTC are running 500 of their buses on bio-diesel blended with diesel, while the State Transport Corporation, in a separate initiative, has been running 1500 buses on a mixture of 7.7 percent ethanol with diesel.

Ramakrishna said KSRTC was in fact saving upto Rs 3.5 crore on fuel consumption under the pilot project.

“Performance wise, KSRTC has found that the mix of Biodiesel with diesel and the 7.7 percent addition of Ethanol with diesel has given them at least five miles more on the same amount of fuel,” the chairman said.   In a recent meeting held with the Indian Oil Corporation and other PSU Oil companies, the task force decided to upgrade the mix of ethanol to 10 percent from the current mix of 5 percent in fuel, in the State by October 2009.

“We will try and push the project by August first week to ensure that it will be carried out all over the State,” said Ramakrishna. 

Oil seed cultivation

The task force has identified 6,400 hectares of “degraded government land” in the rain fed areas of eastern districts in the State for oil seed cultivation. Out of these, the task force has envisioned that 3,100 hectares of forest degraded land will be covered by bio fuel plantation activities.

The project will involve 96 villages forest committees (VFC’s) under the National Rural Employment guarantee scheme (NREGA). The remaining 3,300 hectares land will be covered by bio fuel species with the involvement of 52 VFC’s under special development
projects.

“We have selected 15 Gram Panchyats in and around Davangere district for taking up the plantation along fence and bunds of the farms.

Additional income

The task force also proposed to provide a minimum of 2,000 machines to extract the oil to rural people to ensure additional income for the poor.

“The machine cost will range anywhere between Rs 6,000 to Rs 90,000 depending on the amount of oil that can be extracted from the plantations. The smallest machine can yield a minimum of 5 to 6 litres a day while the largest upto 60 litres of oil. A farmer can make Rs 2,500 only on the seeds supply and much more if they extract the oil and supply them to companies.”

It is also learnt that the plantation need a minimum of 8 to 10 years to grow. But to provide the farmers returns within three years, the forest department is now running trials. To facilitate the sale of the oil, the Biofuel Task Force have envisaged procurement areas in all the KSRTC hubs for mixing the oil with fuel.

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