In recent times, there has been
a marked shift from use of conventional fossil fuels
to new and renewable sources of energy that are cleaner,
safer and inexhaustible. Against the backdrop of a widening
gap between supply and demand, it becomes imperative
to diversify energy sources and explore alternative
ways to meet the country's energy need and sustain
economic growth. Growing environmental concerns also
pose a serious challenge for energy companies, underlying
the urgency to usher in cleaner and sustainable energy
In the country's pursuit of alternative sources
of energy, IndianOil is focussing on CNG (compressed
natural gas), Autogas (LPG), ethanol blended petrol,
bio-diesel, and Hydrogen energy.
CNG is being marketed from select IndianOil outlets
in Mumbai and Delhi as a franchisee of Mahanagar Gas
Ltd., Mumbai, and Indraprastha Gas. Ltd., Delhi, respectively.
As on date, CNG is available at 13 IndianOil outlets
each in Mumbai and Delhi. As demand picks up, IndianOil
will set up additional outlets.
Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG)
Bio-gas is produced naturally (through a process of anaerobic decomposition) from waste / bio-mass sources like agriculture residue, cattle dung, sugarcane press mud, municipal solid waste, sewage treatment plant waste, etc. After purification, it is compressed and called CBG, which has high methane content. Further, Compressed Bio-Gas is exactly similar to the commercially available natural gas in its composition and energy potential. With similar calorific value and other properties similar to CNG, Compressed Bio-Gas can be used as an alternative, renewable automotive fuel. Given the abundance of biomass in the country, Compressed Bio-Gas has the potential to replace CNG in automotive, industrial and commercial uses in the coming years. In a significant push that has the potential to boost availability of more affordable transport fuels, better use of agricultural residue, cattle dung and municipal solid waste as well as to provide an additional revenue source to farmers, an innovative initiative titled SATAT (Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation) has been kicked-off by PSU Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs, that is, IOC, BPC and HPC) inviting Expression of Interest (EoI) from potential entrepreneurs to set up Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG) production plants and make available CBG in the market for use in automotive fuels. This developmental effort would benefit both vehicle-users as well as farmers and entrepreneurs.
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Autogas (LPG) as a clean-burning fuel is now available
from 77 IndianOil outlets covering 21 cities across
the country. IndianOil plans to achieve a target of
200 Autogas dispensing stations covering 62 cities by
In the year 2003, a new eco-friendly fuel popularly
called 'Gasohol' was launched. This fuel
combines petrol with 5% ethanol obtained from the
sugarcane molasses available throughout the country.
IndianOil's R&D centre has established a
feasibility of ethanol blending up to 10%, which is
now gaining acceptance of vehicle manufacturers. India
has also signed a MOU with Brazil in April 2002 for
transfer of technology in blending ethanol with petrol
and diesel at higher properties.
Doping of ethanol with petrol supplies extra oxygen
for complete combustion, which reduces carbon monoxide
levels in auto emission and therefore, it is considered
more environment friendly as it lessens air pollution.
For now, its biggest advantage is for the macro economy.
When fully implemented all over the country, the programme
can provide tangible benefits to our economy on the
Based on successful completion of the pilot project
initiated by the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural
Gas, Government of India and studies conducted by
IndianOil R&D, supply of 5% ethanol-blended petrol
has been initiated in 10 States and three Union Territories
in the first phase, and will be further extended to
all parts of the country subsequently.
Biodiesel is an alternative fuel, having diesel like
properties, synthesised by a simple chemical reaction
of alcohols with vegetable oils. It is commonly made
from edible oils like soyabean, rapeseed and palm
oil in the world. However, non-edible tree borne oil
seeds of Jatropha and Karanjia are material of choice
for India. These trees are energy fixing, fast-growing
and yield appreciable quantity of seeds.
IndianOil R&D has perfected a process to produce
biodiesel from various non-edible oils, especially
from Jatropha and Karanjia. The biodiesel produced
has been tested for its properties and meets the stringent
international standards. Extensive field trials have
been conducted using 5 and 10% bio-diesel blends in
collaboration with Indian Railways, Haryana Roadways,
The R&D Centre is now taking a number of initiatives
for promotion of biodiesel in the country. A state-of-the
art quality control laboratory has been set up to
check the quality of biodiesel, as per ASTM/BIS specifications.
IndianOil has entered into an MOU with Indian Railways
for plantation of Jatropha on railway land. It is
also setting up 10 biodiesel procurement centres.
A reduction of 10 to 15% in smoke density has been
observed with the use of biodiesel blends.
Hydrogen holds the potential to provide a clean and
reliable source of energy that can be used in a wide
range of applications, including the transport sector.
Besides ensuring energy security to the nation, the
environmental benefits of using Hydrogen in a fuel
cell vehicle could be significant.
IndianOil's R&D Centre is the nodal agency
of the hydrocarbon sector for ushering in Hydrogen
energy use in the country. As a part of its roadmap
for a Hydrogen-fuelled economy, IndianOil recently
commissioned India's first Hydrogen-CNG fuel
dispensing station at its R&D Centre at Faridabad.
The pilot station provides a hands-on experience with
on-site Hydrogen production, storage, distribution
and supply. In due course of time, IndianOil, in coordination
with vehicle manufacturers, will take up lab scale
development of H-CNG engines. Some of the other projects
identified include development of Hydrogen-powered
three-wheeler and bus engines in association with
SIAM (Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers),
conversion of CNG three-wheelers and buses to H-CNG
mixture and development of Hydrogen conversion kits
for portable gensets.