Bio-Diesel- The alternate fuel for Indian Railways
Global population explosion, rapid industrialization and greater human activities have been demanding more and more fuels/energy. On the other hand the reserve of fossil fuel is depleting day- by- day signaling a dark future for the mankind. In this scenario research in the field of renewable energy has increased. One such burning topic of the day is the production of “Bio-Diesel”.
Bio-diesel is not only pollution free and renewable but it can also provide employment to lakhs of farmers and labourers and millions of hectares of unused land can be utilized. Gauging its enormous potentialities, Indian Railways has taken up research activities and to produce Bio-diesel right from plantation of Bio-diesel plants (Jatropha) on a large scale in the vast vacant lands including the track sides, & decided to use Bio-diesel extensively in its Diesel locomotives and road vehicles.
In the present work non-edible vegetable oil like Karanja (Pongamia piñata) has been chosen for the work.
Bio-diesel from karanga oil was produce using esterification process. It is found that the transesterification of this oil is affected by the mode of reaction, molar ratio of glyceride to alcohol (Methanol), type and quantity of the catalyst KOH/NaoH/H2SO4, reaction temperature, reaction time, washing procedure and the purity of the oils taken. Economic analyses were also carried out by five liters capacity pilot plant at IRIMEE and their comparisons in terms of cost per liter are also made. The properties of Bio-diesel were found to be comparable to the diesel (HSD) as per IS: 1460/2000 and conforming the Bio-diesel standard as per ASTM D 6751.