In a bid to cut down pollution and expenditure, the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) launched the first 100% bio-diesel bus in the country.
A biodiesel refers to a vegetable oil or animal fat-based diesel fuel consisting of long-chain alkyl like methyl, ethyl, or propyl esters. Biodiesel is typically made by chemically reacting lipids (vegetable oil, soybean oil or animal fat) with an alcohol producing fatty acid esters.
Biodiesel is meant to be used in standard diesel engines and is thus distinct from the vegetable and waste oils used to fuel converted diesel engines. Biodiesel can be used alone, or blended with petrodiesel in any proportions.Biodiesel blends can also be used as a heating oil. Biodiesel can be used in pure form (B100) or may be blended with petroleum diesel at any concentration in most injection pump diesel engines.
Speaking to reporters after the inaugurating the bus, that will ply between Bangalore and Chennai, Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy said – ” Around 1700 KSRTC buses will soon run by using 20% bio-diesel. Currently, KSRTC is operating around 8,300 buses, which, if replaced with biodiesel, will help save Rs. 5 a litre. KSRTC has been successfully using biodiesel for some of its buses, resulting in significant reduction of emission.”
Rajender Kumar Kataria, the managing director, KSRTC, said, “Technical performance, fuel efficiency, engine performance and fuel emission will be monitored and evaluated by expert groups from R V College of Engineering, JSS College of Technology and IISc Bangalore. We will extend the technology to remaining fleet depending on the final result. We have also appointed an evaluation team to monitor the performance of biodiesel buses on a daily basis,” he said.
KSRTC alone consumes 2,11,320 KL of fuel per year or around 590 KL per day. The move would also save money for the corporation as it gets a rebate of Rs. 5 per litre of biofuel. The corporation has decided to run 1,700 buses from 15 depots across the state on biofuel. Each biobus will be run with 20% biodiesel and 80% diesel. The letter of intent to procure 41.34 lakh litres biodiesel.
The corporation also announced the launch of a pilot project of running a 100% biodiesel bus, which was retrofitted by Scania and provided to KSRTC for a trial run. This will be the first time such a trial is being run in the country by a state-owned transport corporation. Initially, the bus will be operated within the state. Once documentation is complete and the performance has been analysed, the corporation will look out for out-of-state routes.
Working in tandem with KSRTC is the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), which plans to run 150 buses on B20 biodiesel. “The initial results with a few buses have been encouraging. We want to expand this project, but it will remain a pilot, as we need to examine the quality and performance of biodiesel,” said Ekroop Caur, the Managing Director, BMTC.
Joint tenders have been issued for sourcing bio-diesel, which is cheaper than diesel. The corporations are in talks with suppliers for entering into long-term contracts with buy-back agreements to encourage the production of biodiesel.