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Manas Agro Industries and Infrastructure Limited (MAIIL) of the city, an extension of Purti Group of Industries, has developed a process of producing bio-CNG (compressed natural gas) that can be used as fuel for vehicles. MAIIL is planning to set up fuel stations or bio-CNG dispensing units in the city in about 8-9 months. The fuel will be produced from molasses and will be carried in cascades to the fuel stations unlike other CNG which is transported through pipeline.
Manish Umale, general manager of MAIIL, told TOI that the bio-CNG would cost Rs40-45 /kg and a scooter can run 65km in one kg. “This is very cheap compared to the conventional petrol or diesel which cause pollution to different extents. Bio-CNG is environment-friendly and the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization (PESO) has given nod to use biogas as fuel,” said Umale.
The idea for bio-CNG came from Spectrum Renewable Energy Pvt Ltd of Hyderabad which is testing the use of this new fuel in commercial vehicles. Bio-CNG is being produced at Warna Nagar near Kolhapur.
Detailing the process of bio-CNG production, Umale said molasses generated while manufacturing sugar is mixed with rectified spirit and ethanol which forms a sludge. This sludge is used to produce methane which is then purified and filled in cascades at high pressure. In the process, some sludge remains which can be used as fertilizer. “We would be transporting the sludge from our Bela plant to city in cascades which will be installed in our fuel stations. Users can fill bio-CNG in vehicles from these outlets which are expected to be ready in less than a year,” said Umale.
Considering the benefits, government needs to make changes in rules and infrastructure so as to allow use of bio-CNG as fuel. The government should allow converting existing vehicles like scooters or three wheelers into CNG-friendly vehicles by attaching a conversion kit in it. Old vehicles too can be permitted to be converted into bio-CNG vehicles. An Israeli company I Tuk is learnt to have developed a kit that is already being used in Gujarat.
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