Auto-giants approach CSMCRI to develop bio-diesel powered cars

AHMEDABAD — Global and Indian automobile giants like General Motors and Hindustan Motors have evinced keen interest in a bio-diesel developed by a research institute in Bhavnagar (in western state of Gujarat) which could help power their future cars after the fuel was successfully tried on two of Mercedes Benz' models.

By (PTI)

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Published: Sat 9 Sep 2006, 9:10 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 4:19 PM

"German auto major Daimlyer Chrysler was the first company to come forward in April 2004 and test its two C-class Mercedes Benz cars on the bio-diesel developed by our institute," said Pushpito Kumar Ghosh, an eminent chemist and director of Bhavnagar-based Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute (CSMCRI).

"After the Mercedes completed 6,000 kms of trial run on 100 per cent bio-diesel in 2004, excitement about this alternative fuel built up around the world," Ghosh told PTI.

"Now companies like GM, Hindustan Motors and Tatas have expressed interest in our technology which can produce outstanding quality of bio-diesel," he said.

According to Ghosh, the trial runs of Mercedes cars showed that the CSMCRI's bio-diesel did not require any engine modification and can smoothly power any vehicle.

"The officials of General Motors are coming in October from the US to hold a meeting with the institute while Hindustan Motors and Tatas have written to us expressing interest in working with us on the bio-diesel," he said.

Ghosh said CSMCRI's bio-diesel developed from seeds of Jatropha plant had very similar properties to diesel (fossil fuel) and was is superior to other forms of bio-diesel developed in other countries.

The scientist said that the cars that run on pure bio-diesel emit 70 per cent less hydrocarbon, 80 per cent less particulate matter and sulphur as compared to the polluting fossil fuels.

"Bio-diesel is also a natural lubricant for the car engines and is safer than the conventional diesel because of the difference in their flash point," Ghosh said.

The flash-point of diesel is 50 degrees and that of bio-diesel is 170 degrees which means ordinary diesel runs the risk of catching fire in 50 degrees heat, he explained

"When we first developed this bio-diesel technology we had literally approached all car makers to test this fuel in their cars but only Daimlyer Crysler came forward," he said.

"Our bio-diesel can power any engine. We have tested this fuel in tractors and other vehicles," the scientist said, adding that a Toyota Qualis owned by the institute is being run on 100 per cent bio-diesel.

According to him, blending bio-diesel with diesel has served no purpose and the government should concentrate on cultivating more Jatropha plants in order to develop bio-diesel as an alternative to fossil fuels.

"One tonne of Jatropha seeds containing 30 per cent of explicable oil can yield about 300 litres of bio-diesel." "To make the technology commercially viable, one requires a huge quantity of Jatropha seeds. For instance, our country could set the first milestone of cultivating Jatropha in 1.5 million hectares, which would give us about one million tonnes of bio-diesel," he added. —

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