Diesel has been a preferred fuel option for vehicles for decades, owing to its frugal credentials and easy availability across the globe. However, it is also associated with several ill-effects, on health and environment. To address this predicament, Mumbai-based My Eco Energy (MEE) has introduced Indizel, a BS VI-grade emission norms compliant diesel.
Indizel is a non-petroleum based fuel that will not only result in low emission but will also go a long way in ensuring sustainable energy, claimed Santosh Verma, Founder, My Eco Energy (MEE). The product is being touted by MEE as an innovative solution to conform and surpass stringent automotive fuel quality standards and is fully compatible with existing fuel infrastructure, distribution systems and engines.
IMPORTANCE OF FUEL QUALITY
Multiple initiatives are underway to achieve harmonised laws and regulations for fuel quality. The objective of the global fuel harmonisation effort is to develop common, worldwide recommendations for quality fuels, taking into consideration customer requirements along with vehicle performance and engine emission technologies. These regulations allow vehicle and engine manufacturers to provide consistent fuel quality advice to policy makers to come up with legislations conducive for all stakeholders, including the environment.
Fuel quality plays an important role in engine performance. This includes technical performance such as durability, power output and fuel economy, as well as the ability to meet emission requirements set by authorities. Global standards specify that only fuels meeting relevant legal requirements, as well as national and international standards should be used.
In some countries, higher quality requirements are set due to environmental reasons. These fuels show better emissions performance than conventional fuels. Due to lower density and viscosity, some of these fuels can cause a minor dent in power output and also increase fuel consumption. However, the fuel injection system should not be readjusted to compensate for any possible loss of power output.
The ignition behaviour of diesel fuels is described by their cetane number. High cetane number (short ignition delay) is important for emissions, cold start behaviour and engine noise. If the cetane number is too low (40-45), the hydrocarbon and nitrogen oxide emissions will increase and long cranking times may occur in cold climates. For a good emission and ignition, a cetane number of 51 and above is globally recommended for diesels, explained Verma.
Indizel, Verma said, works perfectly in sync with the existing diesel vehicles as the fuel has a high cetane number of 75 and above, which is a quality indicator of diesel fuel. The customer can use pure Indizel biofuel or even mix it with existing diesel in the vehicle, Verma added.
CONCEPTUALISATION & ADVANTAGES
To ensure that the emission requirements are durably met for Euro IV or Euro V (corresponding to BS IV & BS V respectively for India) regulations, Sulphur-free fuels should have a PPM (parts per million) content of less than 10. The Sulphur content of Indizel is around 3-5 PPM, significantly lower than conventional diesel. The current BS IV grade of fuel available in India has a Sulphur content of 50 PPM, which ensures that Indizel has a better viscosity and lubricity compared to existing fuel sources. When the Sulphur content is reduced, the ignition process is adversely impacted. However, Indizel uses certain additives during the blending process, which maintains the combustion process at optimal levels and ensuring smooth engine operations.
Viscosity and density are directly linked to engine performance (power, torque & fuel consumption), emissions and durability. Lower viscosity and density reduces engine power and reduces fuel efficiency. However, if these two factors are too high, the engine may be overpowered, and the durability and functionality of the fuel injection system might be at risk.
Claimed to be capable of replacing conventional diesel altogether, Indizel is blended from three bio-fuels available in Singapore. Claimed to drastically reduce harmful emissions that conventional diesel is criticised for, Indizel emits less carbon monoxide, particulate matter and unburned hydrocarbons, said Verma. MEE has not applied for a patent yet for the product.
MEE claims to have designed a unique model wherein it is not dependent on one feedstock for the production of Indizel. It can produce Indizel from multiple feed stocks at multiple locations, leveraging on its technological association with its global partners. According to the company, it does not require modifications to a diesel engine to be used and is a complete substitute for conventional petroleum diesel. Verma said that Indizel has higher lubricating properties, which increases engine life.
The industry and the government have been upbeat about the introduction of BS VI compliant vehicles by 2020, which warrants the need for similar spec fuel in the market. Being manufactured in accordance with IS1460 norms, the flammability or flash point is around 67 °C, and hence Indizel is safer than conventional diesel as well, which has a flash point of 35-40 °C. The result is enhanced pick-up and a smoother drive across most terrain conditions. Being compatible with BS IV, BS V and BS VI-specific engines, Indizel is suitable for most diesel vehicles operating in India today.
Indizel has been developed in a manner that it burns less fossil fuel than standard diesel. The aim of producing this fuel is not to eliminate the use of fossil fuels completely, but instead, to extend the life of fossil fuels while at the same time reduce the carbon footprint, Verma said. This isn’t the only advantage of using his product, he continued. According to him, Indizel burns better than standard diesel too, which should improve the performance and efficiency of a car. Verma claims that using Indizel will reduce the amount of particulate matter, or the black soot seen from the exhaust, by at least 90 %.
Indizel has better freezing point of between -10 °C to -25 °C, compared to conventional diesel, which freezes between 5 °C to 0 °C. This makes transporting and storing his fuel a lot safer and allows MEE’s distribution plan to be different. Meeting European (EN 590 Euro-6) and BIS (IS 1460) quality requirements, Indizel conforms to petroleum diesel (HSD) EN590 standards.
MEE’s plan is to create three models for dealers – urban, sub-urban and highway, said Verma. The urban module involves selling fuel in cans at small stores across the city, where there is a space constraint. The sub-urban module will be more like the fuel stations seen within the city, while the highway module will be like the large fuel stations on highways with space for big vehicles, a convenience store, rest areas, etc.
Indizel is sold at around ` 2 less than what the standard diesel costs on a particular day. While there are currently around 10 such fuel stations in India, he is optimistic that he will have in place at least 40-50 stations pan India by the end of this year. The organisation is now planning to establish 500 such fuel stations and 2,000 outlets in three different formats in the next 18-24 months.
When asked to comment on the road ahead, Verma said to attain a significant customer base, the company has outlined a strategic marketing roadmap to reach the domestic market segments. Today, the company primarily caters to Maharashtra and other neighbouring states in the initial phase.
Verma is confident of the company’s expansion plans and believes there would not be any problem in attaining the target because of the tremendous amount of interest among dealers and retailers. However, he also said that there is a lack of awareness about bio-fuel in general and this is a hurdle that the company needs to overcome.
Verma explained that the biofuel market in India is at a very nascent stage and therefore there is a huge market potential. India is currently the 4th largest consumer as well as importer of crude oil, and out of these imports, diesel accounts for 44 %. Even then there is a huge gap between the demand and supply of diesel. Therefore, Indizel – being a complete alternative to diesel – has a huge market potential, he claimed.
There are two major challenges that Verma faces today – lack of awareness and lack of infrastructure that supports abundant manufacturing and processing of biodiesel in the country. With the Government of India laying down some heavy biodiesel initiatives, there is hope that there would be tremendous growth in the biofuel industry in India. There is a fairly big gap between demand and supply, said Verma, adding that biofuel is only an alternative to diesel, and can never replace diesel. Given the current circumstances, biofuel can only extend the lifespan of the conventional fuel. However, with the initial progress being successfully launched, alternate fuel technology is expected to gain momentum in a big way in years to come.
TEXT: Anwesh Koley
PHOTO: Vasu Anantha/ MEE