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India Conducts First Test Run of a Vehicle with B100 Marine Microalgal Biodiesel

Shri Vilasrao Deshmukh, Minister, Science & Technology and Earth Sciences and VP, CSIR today flagged-off test-run of a fully loaded TAVERA (a regular diesel vehicle) on neat (B100) “microalgal biodiesel” from CSIR Headquarters, New Delhi.  Secretary, DSIR & DG, CSIR Prof. Samir K. Brahmachari and Secretary, MoES      Dr. Shailesh Nayak were present on the occasion.

Shri Vilasrao Deshmukh said that in a significant advancement in this NMITLI project, I am given to understand that proof of concept for running a regular diesel vehicle on B20 biodiesel from marine microalgal source was achieved last year.

The Minister announced  that as part of another development in this project, a 200 km test-run of a regular vehicle on neat (B100) biodiesel from marine microalgal source is being performed today. This development is very important for us as fossil fuels are depleting day by day.

The “microalgal biodiesel” was produced from a marine microalgal strain cultivated in a solar saltpan.  The endeavour is the outcome of an ambitious project initiated in April 2010 under the CSIR-New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative (CSIR-NMITLI) by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in collaboration with the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) that seeks to develop a scalable process for production of biofuel from marine microalgae.

Scientists from nine partnering Institutions spread across the country, such as Andhra University (AU), Vishakhapatnam; Calcutta University (CU), Kolkata; CSIR-Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute (CSIR-CSMCRI), Bhavnagar; CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (CSIR-IICT), Hyderabad; Indian Institute of Technology, Khargpur (IIT-Kgp); CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory (CSIR-NCL), Pune; CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography (CSIR-NIO), Goa; National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), Chennai; and CSIR-National Institute of Interdisciplinary Science & Technology (CSIR-NIIST), Thiruvananthapuram are participating in the aforesaid endeavour.

In an important milestone achieved last year, the TAVERA (a regular diesel vehicle) under full load condition was successfully test-driven on B20 biodiesel prepared from mats of marine microalgae found growing naturally in the west coast of India. The test-run on neat (B100) microalgal biodiesel is yet another significant advancement.

With growing demand of liquid fuels for transportation purpose and concerns around fossil fuels, the CSIR-NMITLI project is of much importance. However, considerable efforts will be required to move up the learning curve to make such fuel available on large scale at affordable price.

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