Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Hardeep Singh Puri, and Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Rameswar Teli, ceremonially inaugurated the demo-run of the Inland Water Vessel powered by methanol-blended diesel (MD15) on January 24 in the run-up to India Energy Week 2023 (IEW 2023) to be held in Bengaluru from February 6 to 8.
“A mighty new initiative on Mahabahu Brahmaputra. In a unique step towards developing alternative sources of clean energy, very happy to flag off & ride on an inland water vessel using Methanol Blended Diesel MD15 with my colleague @Rameswar_Teli Ji in Guwahati today,” Puri tweeted after the programme.
“This initiative is inspired by PM Sh @narendramodi Ji’s vision to develop inland water connectivity in India’s North East. An environment-friendly fuel, it will also be Rs 5-7 cheaper and result in 20 per cent less SOx & NOx emissions,” Puri tweeted.
The boat ride was done on a 50-seater motor launch marine vessel named ‘SB Gangadhar’.
The marine vessel is equipped with two Ruston make diesel engines (each engine of 105 hp). The boat will be run on MD-15 (15 per cent methanol blended HSD).
Methanol is a low-carbon hydrogen carrier fuel produced from high ash coal, agricultural residue, CO2 from thermal power plants and natural gas. It is the best pathway for meeting India’s commitment to COP 21.
Although slightly lower in energy content than petrol and diesel, methanol can replace both these fuels in the transport sector (road, rail and marine), the energy sector (comprising DG sets, boilers, process heating modules, tractors, and commercial vehicles) and retail cooking (replacing LPG [partially], kerosene and wood charcoal).
Puri said: “In Assam, Assam Petrochemical Limited (APL), Namrup currently produces about 100 TPD of methanol and is implementing a new project for the production of 500 TPD of methanol.”
“Work is in progress to set up coal-to-methanol plants in the country using indigenous technology, which is being developed by BHEL (Hyderabad and Trichy), Thermax, and IIT Delhi,” Puri said.
NITI Aayog’s ‘Methanol Economy’ programme is aimed at reducing India’s oil import bill, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and converting coal reserves and municipal solid waste into methanol.
Methanol is a cost-effective alternative marine fuel. It is less costly than other marine fuels and is economical in terms of developing the shoreside storage and bunkering infrastructure. The cost to convert vessels to run on methanol is significantly less than other alternative fuel conversions with no need for expensive exhaust gas after treatment and as a liquid fuel, only minor modifications are needed for existing storage and bunkering infrastructure to handle methanol.
Blending of 15 per cent methanol in gasoline can result in at least a 15 per cent reduction in the import of gasoline/crude oil. In addition, this would bring down GHG emissions by 20 per cent in terms of particulate matter, NOx, and SOx, thereby improving urban air quality.
IEW 2023 is the first major event under India’s G20 Presidency, which follows Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pledge at COP26 to cut India’s emissions to net zero by 2070.
Held under the patronage of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, India Energy Week is the only all-encompassing international energy event supported at the highest level of the Indian government, with participation from all the Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs), and officially supported by the Federation of Indian Petroleum Industry (FIPI).