Mangaluru, Dec 16, 2017: Speaking to media on the sidelines of 25th National Conference on Internal Combustion Engines and Combustions 2017 organised by the Mechanical Engineering Department of NITK, Surathkal, on December 15, Friday, NITI Aayog Member V K Saraswat has laid emphasis on the need to make Methanol as an alternative fuel in India.
He said that Methanol/DME (Dimethyl Ether) can be blended with LPG, which can be used in existing stoves after slight modifications and can also substitute LPG completely in new stoves.
In fact, a Swedish firm has set up a plant in India to manufacture stoves for using Methanol, he added.
He said that India is dependent on West Asian countries for LPG import. Also, India’s LPG imports will rise over the next few years as the government pushes to make cooking gas cylinders available to the poor under its ambitious Ujjwala scheme, putting a huge burden on the country’s exchequer. The blending of Methanol or DME, which is a clean fuel, with LPG will reduce its import by 20%, he observed. Methanol can be produced from coal, biomass and natural gas and India has huge reserves of coal.
“Hence conversion of coal to methanol is a good option to meet our energy demands,” he said. Modification kits for the gasoline engines have already been developed by many countries. Developing countries, such as Nigeria, are using methanol as cooking gas. Hence, the transition can be expected to be smooth, without any technology risks, he added.
He also said that the government would soon announce a policy for 15% blending of methanol in petrol.
To a question regarding mining on beaches in India, he said the rare earth materials lie wasted and underused now. Significant quantities of rare earth minerals called Beach Sand Minerals (BSM) are found in India, which needs to be tapped. But the unscrupulous export of beach sand should be prevented, he said.
The conference was organised in association with Combustion Institute-Indian unit which promotes research activities in combustion science.
The objectives of the Combustion Institute-Indian Section (CIIS) are to promote interactions among researchers, academicians, scholars and scientists interested in Combustion Science and Technology through various technical meetings, workshops and biennial national conferences.