DTC (Delhi Transport Corporation) is planning to run its buses (which are presently using CNG as fuel) on fuel obtained from wastes such as vegetable waste and sewage sludge. Delhi Jal board’s Kehopur plant has been selected as the pioneer site for setting up a biofuel plant.
“At several plants we have started biogas production, which will be used to run certain operations there. The production of biofuel will take place the first time. A feasibility study has been carried out for this pilot project. The Centre and the Swedish government will soon sign an agreement for cost sharing on an equal footing for the project estimated at Rs 25 crore,” said a Delhi Jal Board (DJB) official.
The project to be carried out with the help of Sweden will try to keep the costs effective and competitive with CNG. The sludge that remains after treating wastewater is a real mess to dispose off and using it as an effective fuel is a good option.
“Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited will also be roped in for their expertise in the matter. The fuel produced will be cleaner than CNG and will also be cost effective. After DTC expressed interest, Keshopura was selected as the site for the project especially since there is a CNG station nearby,” said a senior DJB official. “Agreements are to be signed between the agencies involved. A detailed study is being carried out and pricing is also being worked out, keeping in mind CNG prices. If it’s not cheaper, it would make no sense producing the fuel on a large scale,” added the official.
DJB is already producing biogas at its Rithala and Okhla plants.Utilizing sludge and waste to make fuel is a better option than utilising crops to make fuel. For a country like India which cannot at present afford the diversion of food crops into fuel making, utilising such wastes is a positive step. With the rise in commercial prices of gasoline and the pollution hazard associated with it, in any case a shift is required from the conventional sources of energy. DTC buses are already using CNG which is less polluting and commercially more cost effective. Making use of biofuel would be like killing two birds with one stone, it would provide fuel and simultaneously take care of the sludge disposal problem.