Government Launches Program to Convert Cooking Oil Into Biodiesel

With an aim to reduce India’s dependence on oil imports, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas with oil PSUs like IOC, BPCL and HPCL, have launched Expression of Interest (EOI) to procure Biodiesel made from Used Cooking Oil.

The Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Steel Dharmendra Pradhan released the Expression for Interest (EOI) by National Oil Marketing Companies (IOC, HPCL and BPCL) for procurement of biodiesel, made from used cooking oil (UCO).

According to a government statement, The EOI on Biodiesel from UCO will provide the entrepreneurs to set up biodiesel plants while getting remunerative price and assurance of complete offtake of production by the Oil companies.

Read: Biofuel sector. A waiting game

The program is scheduled to be launched in 100 cities, EOI will ensure that Rs 51/ litre is paid for biodiesel for the first year, Rs 52.7 for the second year and Rs 54.5 for the third year. The Oil companies will also bear the cost of transportation and GST for the first year.

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“PM Modi has given a target to the ministry to bring down import dependency of oil products by 2022, and this can be achieved by enhancing production, improving energy efficiency, promoting conservation and encouraging alternate fuels“, said Dharmendra Pradhan, adding the abundance of the raw material could turn this from ‘good waste to wealth concept’.

Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas reportedly is working on a four-pronged strategy in this regard: promoting Ethanol, 2-G ethanol, Compressed bio-Gas and Biodiesel. Pradhan said that the ethanol blending in petrol has gone up from 1% to about 8% and is likely to touch 10% soon. “Our ultimate goal is to achieve 20% ethanol blending with petrol,” the minister added.

He said the government is planning to allow the production of ethanol from surplus food grains which now sometimes go waste and also entail expenditure on storage. On the issue of compressed biogas, the minister said that CGD network being set up in over 400 districts will give a big fillip to it, and already 300 letter of intents have been signed with entrepreneurs for setting up CBG plants.

Describing Biodiesel as ‘low hanging fruit’ in the scheme of alternate source of energies, the minister said that “abundant raw material is available for the purpose. It is a good waste to wealth concept”. He said that the budget this year has underlined the transformation of Annadata to Urjadata.

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

The minister remains confident that the scheme will achieve its target of 8 crore beneficiaries by October this year, well before the deadline and to that end Pradhan has called upon the OMCs to support the entrepreneurs in promoting biodiesel production in the country.

Moreover, a sticker on Repurpose Used Cooking Oil (RUCO) was released by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). The food joints, hotels and restaurants supplying UCO for producing biodiesel will affix this sticker on their premises. Additionally, a mobile app, RUCO App, was also launched, which will enable stakeholders track all transactions and facilitate the UCO collection. In India, 2,700 crore litres of cooking oil is used, out which 140 crore UCO can be collected from bulk consumer such as hotels, restaurants and canteens for conversion, which will give around 110 crore litres of biodiesel every year.

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