Govt launches programme procure biodiesel in 100 cities

State-run oil marketing companies IndianOil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum on Saturday launched a programme to procure biodiesel made from used cooking oil in 100 cities across the country.

The programme was formally launched by Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, under which the three OMCs would invite expression of interest from private entities for setting up plants to produce biodiesel from used cooking oil.

Initially, the biodiesel would be procured by the OMCs at an assured rate of Rs 51 per litre, which would be increased to Rs 52.7 in the second year and Rs 54.5 per litre in the third year.

The minister also launched a Repurpose Used Cooking Oil (RUCO) sticker and a mobile phone application for collection of used cooking oil (UCO) to ensure that it does not come back to the ecosystem.

The sticker would be affixed by the food joints, hotels and restaurants in their premises to show that they supply UCO for producing biodiesel.

Addressing an event to mark 'World Biofuel Day' here, Pradhan said, "Biodiesel is available in many forms other than used cooking oil. It is waste to wealth. We will celebrate World Biofuel Day as alternative energy day."

"Like Amul, where milk is collected from households and then converted into a commercial product, there will be RUCO movement. The biggest issue (with biofuels like compressed biogas) was offtake guarantee. More than 300 firms have got a letter of intent for compressed biogas. Its implementation is a challenge. But we are targetting 5,000 such units till 2024."

He also said, "China has a larger population but its (energy) distribution is not that organised as compared to our three oil marketing companies. That includes city gas distribution firms also.

"Under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Scheme, we would achieve the target of providing 8 crore LPG connections by September end. Already, there is a 20 per cent reduction in chest congestion disease reported in India due to the clean fuel movement."

Regarding ethanol blending, he said,"We would also make ethanol from surplus food stock. At present, we produce ethanol from sugarcane molasses. Non-subsidised biomass would be converted into energy."

"About four-five years ago, we had decided to increase ethanol blending with petrol. It has increased from 1.5 per cent to 7 to 8 per cent. It will soon be 10 per cent. Our ultimate goal is to achieve 20 per cent ethanol blending with petrol," the minister added.

At present, 850 crore litres of diesel is consumed every month in India. The government aims to blend 5 per cent of biodiesel in a diesel by 2030. Thus, 500 crore litres of biodiesel is required in a year.

In India, 2,700 crore litres of cooking oil is used, out which 140 crores UCO can be collected from the bulk consumer such as hotels, restaurants and canteens for conversion, which will give around 110 crore litres of biodiesel every year.

At present, there is no established chain of collection for UCO, which presents a huge opportunity.

Speaking on the occasion, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan lauded the efforts of the oil ministry for converting USO into biodiesel.

He said the repeated use of UCO can cause diseases like hypertension, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer's and liver ailments, among others. 

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