By Joydeep Sanyal:
With the whole world suffering from the sky rocketing oil prices, scientists and researchers have been propagating the need for an effective fossil fuel supplement in the near future. With sustainable development becoming the mantra for most of the developed and developing nations, care must be taken to ensure that the fossil fuel reserves do not get depleted creating a huge energy crisis for the coming future generations. While many countries from around the world are already pumping in a lot of money on the research for developing alternate fuels, India has not started the work on a colossal scale but has started thinking about the same by developing strategies. Possessing the world’s second largest population, it is obvious that the energy demand of India would be tremendous. To meet this demand, we ought to increase our researches on alternate sources of energy and their viability.
One such cheap source of energy which can reduce the burden on commercial diesel is waste vegetable oil. Now the obvious question is — What is waste vegetable oil? With the setting up of large eating joints in almost every nook and corner of a city or a town, the consumption of edible oil has increased. A significant portion of this cooked oil gets wasted as it is rendered unsuitable for further cooking and is then thrown away. But what we forget is that this wasted cooking oil is a great source of raw material for producing biodiesel. Waste vegetable oil after proper filtration can also be used directly as a fuel for automobiles. This can not take place due to its high viscosity [viscosity is “thickness” of fluid], improper atomization and combustion of fuel results which ultimately degrades the engine and reduces its life. After its conversion to biodiesel, it can be effectively used as a fuel.
One big advantage of using waste vegetable oil for producing biodiesel instead of using edible and non edible oils for the same is the price. The price of the raw materials constitute about 70% of the total cost of biodiesel. With the cost of a litre of edible/non edible oil close to that of diesel, the total cost of biodiesel becomes higher than that of commercial diesel making it economically unviable for use. But waste vegetable oil can be procured at a very less rate as compared to that of other oils. Setting the value of waste vegetable oil as 50% of the original cost can actually reduce the cost of biodiesel by 20-30 INR .
I, along with four of my batchmates had the wonderful opportunity to work in this field as our summer project and I would like to share some of the important data with all our readers of Youth Ki Awaaz.
Come out of your shells and think out of the box. The solution to every problem is in front of you. You just have to observe closely.