‘Improved tech can cut emissions’

Technology holds the key to achieving the government’s goals of reducing carbon dioxide emissions and oil imports by 10 per cent and introducing BS-VI-compliant fuel across the country, according to Dharmendra Pradhan, Oil Minister.

“To reduce carbon dioxide emissions and oil imports, to be more energy efficient and to introduce BS-VI fuel, technology is a major way to do it,” Mr.Pradhan said inaugurating Honeywell UOP’s Recycle Hydrocracker Pilot Plant at Gurugram on Monday.

New facility

The facility is used to mimic a full-scale refinery’s functioning on a smaller scale, thus allowing tests and new methods to be developed at a lower cost. “This pilot plant emulates a refinery unit,” Anant Maheshwari, President, Honeywell India told The Hindu. “A refinery plant can be anywhere between tens to hundreds of millions of dollars of investment. The pilot plant that we are doing here, with the same amount of precision, is about a $5 million investment.”

The plant could prove particularly useful at a time when the country is looking to transition to less polluting fuel. The country has been running on BS-III fuel since 2010 with BS-IV currently being used inmajor cities.

BS-VI deadline

The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has set a deadline of 2017 by which time all the vehicles in the country must be BS-IV-compliant and 2020 for the rollout of BS-VI fuel.

“If we were looking at a new process or catalyst for BS-VI and low-sulphur diesel, we can do the testing here,” Steven Gimre, Managing Director, UOP India said. “We can partner with companies here and they can provide us feedstock. So, if they want to know if their feedstock can meet product specifications, then they can send it to us and we can test it.”

Key clients

“IOCL, BPCL, HPCL are our key clients,” Mr. Gimre said.

“IOCL is one of our biggest customers as a company and is one of the biggest refiners in the country.”

Regarding the direct transition to BS-VI and the leapfrogging of BS-V — something car companies have pointed out as being a significant jump and difficult to implement — Mr. Gimre said the technology was available since it had already been implemented in Europe.

“From a technology standpoint, the (BS-VI) solutions are there,” he said.

“For our customers, it is a matter of them deciding what to do in each refinery, how to apply the technology in each specific case.”

Growing usage

Hydrocarbon usage in the country is growing rapidly and it is imperative that technology moves apace to ensure the damage to the environment is limited, he said.