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  • Writer's pictureRon Kotrba

Petroleum minister of India flags off 1st supply of UCO biodiesel from Indian Oil terminal

Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, India’s minister of petroleum, natural gas and steel, remotely flagged off the first supply of diesel fuel blended with biodiesel made from used cooking oil (UCO) May 4 under the so-called expressions of interest (EOI) scheme from Indian Oil Corporation Ltd.’s Tikrikalan Terminal. Other dignitaries were also present.

The EOI scheme was developed in August 2019 to create an ecosystem for collection and conversion of UCO into biodiesel and developing entrepreneurship opportunities. According to Indian Oil, such EOIs are being periodically released by Indian oil marketing companies (OMCs). In the first phase, 11 EOIs were floated between August 2019 and November 2020 for 200 locations. The publication of EOIs has been extended for one more year, through Dec. 31, 2021, for 300 locations across the country.

Under this initiative, OMCs offer periodically incremental price guarantees for five years and extend off-take guarantees for 10 years to prospective entrepreneurs. So far, Indian Oil has also issued 23 letters of intent (LOI) for biodiesel plants with a total capacity of more than 60 million gallons per year. Under this initiative, Indian Oil has received 13,473 gallons of UCO-based biodiesel at its Tikrikalan terminal in Delhi as of March 31.

Karl Feilder, chairman and CEO of Dubai-based Neutral Fuels, said Indian Oil just received its first shipment of UCO biodiesel from his company’s year-old Neutral Fuels India plant in Delhi at the end of April.

“It is a proud day for Neutral Fuels,” Feilder said. “To begin to supply the largest oil company in India, making the government’s pro-biodiesel policy come to life, just one year after opening our facility is amazing. But to do it while this wonderful country struggles with so many other challenges, is quite frankly humbling.”

Pradhan complimented the oil industry on the role they’ve played to keep the fuel lines running despite the stiff challenges of the pandemic. He also praised the OMCs for going above and beyond by extending support for medical oxygen supply to India as the coronavirus crisis mounts there.

“This is a landmark in India’s pursuance of biofuels and will have a positive impact on the environment,” Pradhan said. “This initiative will garner substantial economic benefits for the nation by shoring up indigenous biodiesel supply, reducing import dependence, and generating rural employment.” He acknowledged the proactive role OMCs have played and added that 30 LOIs have already been issued.

Shri Tarun Kapoor, India’s secretary for the ministry of petroleum and natural gas, said, “With this flag off, a new era of bioenergy has been ushered in that will revolutionize the Indian petroleum sector. Feedstock availability in biodiesel is a challenge, and leveraging UCO can be a major breakthrough that will enable us to reach the target of 5 percent biodiesel blending. It will also help divert the unhealthy used oil from the food chain to a more productive purpose.” Kapoor also complimented Indian Oil for its focused drive on UCO-based biodiesel and for the concerted efforts undertaken to promote the benefits of biodiesel.

“Indian Oil is committed to contributing to this remarkable drive to retrieve the unhealthy used cooking oil and usher in a revolution through ‘Randhan se Indhan,’” said Shri S. M. Vaidya, chair of Indian Oil. “We aspire to trace even the last drop of UCO and ensure its conversion to biodiesel, thereby contributing to a more energy secure, greener and healthier India. This event is yet another significant step towards a Swachh and Aatmanirbhar Bharat.”

Vaidya also shared that Indian Oil has begun constructing eight biodiesel plants across Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh.



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