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Bio-D Energy – An Innovative Way of Converting Waste Cooking Oil into Biofuel

India is heavily dependent on crude oil with 82.9% import dependency in 2017-18. The net foreign exchange outgo is 63.305 billion US$ in the financial year 2017-18 on account of crude oil imports. India generated 35.2 million tons of petroleum products from indigenous crude oil production whereas the country’s dependence on imported crude oil to meet its needs has risen to 83.7 percent in 2018-19 fiscal year.

The consumption volume of petroleum products in India was estimated to be approximately 201.9 million metric tons in the fiscal year 2018. India was the third biggest oil importer after the US and China in 2017. Due to lack of adequate petroleum reserves, India has to depend mostly on crude oil imports in near future till its renewable energy resources such as solar, wind, hydro and biomass are exploited adequately to achieve energy security by replacing the petroleum products consumption which is also major contributors to the air pollution.

The restaurants in India use the cooking oil twice after which they are left with only one choice i.e. to dispose of. The high-quality oil finds two methods of getting disposed of, either getting dumped into a water body or sold off at a cheap rate to roadside eateries that reuse it multiple times until it becomes a health hazard. The problem of used cooking oil has long plagued India. While it has been blamed for making people sick, most continue to use it because it is cheaper than buying standard cooking oil. The toxicity of TPC is associated with several diseases such as hypertension, cancer, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, liver diseases, high levels of bad cholesterol, etc.

Started in 2015 and founded by Shiva Vig, Haryana based Bio-D Energy is a venture that produces biofuel from used cooking oil, serving a three-way purpose from waste management to air pollution. They are preventing the adulteration of oil which is bought by big food chains and reused several times over by smaller restaurants. But at the same time, they are also preventing the contamination of water, reducing the import of fossil fuels and reducing vehicular pollution.

The fuel produced from used cooking oil is low on sulfur and emits next to zero carbon. Since it doesn’t need extra resources to be extracted, it lowers our carbon footprint by at most 78.45 %. Currently, they buy about 5,000-6,000 kg of used oil daily and have obtained a 95 percent efficiency in converting it into biofuel.

Conventional biofuel is manufactured using a process called transesterification where a fatty acid (glyceride) reacts with methanol or ethanol in the presence of a catalyst. The raw materials used in transesterification are vegetable oils, animal fats or cooking oil and the end products are methyl esters (used as biofuel) and glycerine.

Bio-D buys used cooking oil from food chains like Burger King, McDonald’s, KFC and about 1,000 other restaurants across the National Capital Region (NCR) at around Rs 25 per kg. In 2016, KFC became their first partner, and in the following years, Bio-D’s base saw an exponential expansion.

They imported machinery from Korea and modified its technology in India to make the process as efficient as we could. They can convert 150 tonnes of biofuel every day. Presently, they are looking for buyers for the glycerine, but their biofuel is bought by Bharat Petroleum, Hindustan Petroleum as well as by some rural petrol pumps in Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, among others. Although many Indian organisations manufacture biodiesel, Bio-D ensures a quality unmatched by the rest.

Prasan Surana, the Founder of Synergy Teletech, confirmed the quality of fuel produced by Bio-D, and told YourStory, “Bio-D energy distributes pure and distilled bio-fuel to us that we sell to our end-users at Rs 5 less than the market price of diesel. Office complexes, residential colonies, and other manufacturing units are a part of the consumer base.” Earlier this year, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) also awarded them as an authorised aggregator for its ‘Repurpose Used Cooking Oil’ Initiative.

India’s crude oil demand is forecast to grow to 500 million tonnes per year by 2040, but persistent increases in oil prices might act as a dampener for the rate of growth, as per Partha Ghosh, an executive director at Indian Oil Corp. That would be equivalent to around 10 million barrels per day (bpd), up from about 4.7 million bpd in 2017.

A revolution, especially against pollution and exploitation of energy sources, has to be fought in multiple directions. Bio-D’s manufacturing of biofuel is one such amazing venture that is saving the import of thousands of kilograms of fossil fuel. You can also be the one contributing to the benefit and ease of our lives by applying your various innovative ideas and products, thus making India a better place. If he can do it, you too can!!!

Become an Innovation Catalyst with Bots ‘N Brains to solve the problems around us and help India become a better country.

Edited by Saket Dethe

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