First Indian biofuel ship set for fleet review

First Indian biofuel ship set for fleet review
When President Pranab Mukherjee will review the naval fleet on Saturday, a small Indian naval vessel with green bands on both sides may emerge as the centre of attraction as it would be the first Indian ship to run completely on biofuel.

“At the international fleet review, we would be operating a fast interceptor craft on green fuel,” Navy chief Admiral R K Dhowan said here on Friday. Whether more warships would shift to cleaner fuel in the future would depend on the success of this pilot project.

Dhowan said the Navy had initiated another green project to set up an ocean thermal energy conversion plant in the Andaman and Nicobar islands to generate electricity from the temperature difference between cold water in the deep and warm water at the surface. So far, none of the OTEC plants in the world — barring one in Japan —  are successful.

The only Indian OTEC plant (1 MW) tried in 2002 by National Institute of Ocean Technology, Chennai was a failure.

The naval OTEC project involves participation from foreign and Indian industries and two sites have been identified in the Andaman to set up the plant.

These green steps are aimed at reducing the Indian Navy’s carbon footprint in the line of the US Navy that raised a Great Green Fleet in which the US Navy is experimenting with the idea of warships using alternate fuel and test the viability and strategic utility of the concept. The US green fleet is a carrier battle group in which the aircraft carrier is nuclear-powered while cruiser, destroyers, oil tanker and aircraft run on a 50:50 mix of petroleum and biofuel. Indian Navy has undertaken several more green steps. For instance, it has been decided that all future acquisition and upgrade projects would also have to factor in energy efficiency to reduce the emission load. Karwar naval base, which houses aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, has zero carbon footprint. In its expansion phase, more green measures are being incorporated.

The Indian Navy, however, is yet to decide if its planned second indigenous carrier would use nuclear propulsion or would be a diesel guzzler.
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