Green Mahindra Scorpio: India's first car run on 100% Bio-Diesel.
Posted 09 October 2009 - 07:10 PM
Just saw it on the Facebook scorpio fan page, so thought would share this one. Please share your thoughts.
Megha Rathee's mint-green Scorpio sits like any other car in a corporate parking lot in Gurgaon, Delhi's suburb of global companies. There's no indication that it is a remarkable vehicle -- India's first commercial car to run on 100 per cent biodiesel. Plenty of cars run on a diesel-biofuel blend. In October 2007, under pressure from the world to cut emissions of the greenhouses gases produced by fossil fuel combustion, the Indian government mandated that all diesel contain 5 per cent biofuel by volume. Biofuels are fuels produced from crops. They burn cleaner than fossil fuels -- releasing up to 90 per cent less carbon dioxide, the gas responsible for global climate change.
Biodiesels, a subset of biofuels, are fuels produced from vegetable or animal oils.
Now, the government is targeting a 20 per cent biofuel blend by 2017. Last week, under pressure from world leaders, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh promised that India will set targets for reducing its carbon emissions and report annually on its progress to the United Nations.
But Megha doesn't need to wait for anyone to mix biodiesel into her fuel.
Her Scorpio can run on either * although she says it performs better with biodiesel.
Together, Megha and her husband Akshat own a business, Earth 100 biofuels, which provides biofuel-powered cars to corporate clients.
The Rathees first came up with the idea in 2007. "Since nobody else had tried to do this, we had to build the entire business," said Akshat.
They approached a few companies, who indicated that they'd be willing to run biodiesel-powered cars as part of their company fleet if the Rathees could provide the cars.
In countries such as Brazil, engines regularly run on oil that is up to 70 per cent biofuel. A regular diesel engine can be outfitted to burn biofuel with a few minor and inexpensive alterations.
For the same price as a regular Scorpio, Mahindra and Mahindra, an automobile firm, agreed to supply the Rathees with Scorpios that could run on both diesel and biodiesel.
The trouble was sourcing the oil.
In 2007, the same time the Rathees were looking to start their business, the world was abuzz with news of a potential new "miracle biodiesel", produced from jatropha curcas, a bush that grows wild in India. Jatropha seeds are, on average, 38 per cent oil. The plant grows on arid land, and the biodiesel produced from crushed jatropha seeds performs well in diesel engines.
At the time, a few major Indian players had gotten into the biofuels market, particularly jatropha. But these corporations exported their product to Europe and the United States, where demand is higher.
"We approached five different companies, multimillion dollar companies,"
said Akshat. "But none of them could supply us with jatropha oil."
The Rathees finally met up with the Chhattisgarh Biofuel Development Authority (CBDA), a small facility in Raipur, central India. The Authority at the time supplied limited quantities of jatropha oil for scientific research.
Jatropha grows wild in Chhattisgarh, and for several years the CBDA had been employing rural farmers under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, paying them anywhere from Rs 8 to Rs 20 for every kg of jatropha plant they picked.
In order to supply the Rathees' project, the CBDA upgraded its refining and laboratory testing facilities until it could provide a type of oil that met rigorous international biodiesel standards.
By March 2008, Earth 100 was ready to roll out a pilot fleet of 10 cars.
Now, the company has an order book of 700, the Rathees say. Their clients include million-dollar multinationals, state governments, and potentially even the Commonwealth Games Committee, which is considering using Earth 100 cars to ferry athletes, delegates and workers. The additional cost of operating a jatropha-powered car instead of a diesel car is about two rupees per kilometre, said Megha.
"Everybody seems to like the idea,"
said Megha. "People keep asking us if they can get these cars for their personal use."
Source: Hindustan Times epaper
Posted 10 October 2009 - 10:28 PM
Nice article there. Keep posting
Posted 04 May 2010 - 11:43 AM
Nice article there. Keep posting
secondly what is more important, is that the fossil fuel we burn has caused more damage than we can handle. inconsistent climate patterns. rising costs of fuels, green house effect, etc.
Jathropa doesnt need any initial investment per se. it grows on arid land and is a wild plant. what more can you ask for. similarly the refuse generated by this plant can be decomposed along with other biodegradable items to create Methane- the major component of CNG (compressed natural gas). as opposed to LPG (Liquified Petroleum Gas) which contains Propane and butane wchich actually comes from fossil fuels.
therefore in my opinion this jathropa plant seems to be an awesome answer to both Deisel and Petrol engines (as CNG is already being used in Petrol Variants of many vehicles).
Does it really matter if there is a marginal speed drop, higher fuel consumption. if it is gonna reduce Green house gas, can be grown on barren lands, will support poor farmers, then damn the oil sheikhs who have been milking / oiling us for all our worth.
I say the above couple have taken a right step in the right direction.
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Posted 04 May 2010 - 01:16 PM
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