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With bio-diesel blend, SCR expects Rs. 85-crore savings

The South Central Railway, that was the first to take to blending of high speed diesel for its locomotives with 5 per cent of bio-diesel on June 5, 2015, hopes to save foreign exchange to the tune of Rs. 85 crore annually.

Rail engines or locomotives in the SCR, numbering 599, consume 1.64 litres of high speed diesel (HSD) to lug a goods load of 1,000 tonnes per kilometre, while one that takes the load of passenger-carrying coaches will guzzle 2.69 litres of HSD for the same tonnage.

Normally, a goods train carries around 6,000 tonnes, while a passenger carrying train load is much less. The Indian railway has 5,356 diesel locomotives in its fleet.

Fuel tank capacity

On an average, most locomotives have a fuel tank capacity of 5,000 litres. SCR established bio-diesel units at Kacheguda and then at Sanatnagar in 2015.

Field trials

It was after research and extensive field trials that the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO), an ISO 9001 R&D agency under the Ministry of Railways, gave the nod for Indian Railways to take to blending of 5 per cent.

Just a few days ago, former General Manager-SCR, Ravindra Gupta, unveiled a new facility at Kacheguda that allowed for ratio blending that is more advanced and ideal when compared to the earlier system of sequential blending, said a senior officer.

Blending facility

The state-of-the-art, first-of-its-kind, inline blending facility across the Indian Railway at Kacheguda was established by the Indian Oil Corporation at an estimated cost of Rs.22 lakh.

Simple though it may sound, in terms of cost, the blending is perfect, averred the officer.

From two different pipelines, bio-diesel and regular HSD flow into what is described as a batch controller and into the fuel tank of the locomotive in the perfect, recommended ratio.

“If and when the RDSO asks us to increase the blend from the 5 per cent, it is easy for us to just change the settings and the configuration in the locomotives,” said another officer.

Plan for expansion

The SCR is working to expand the number of bio-diesel blending units from two locations to six. Kacheguda and Sanatnagar apart, the new units will come up in Adilabad, Gooty (Kurnool district), Nallapadu near Guntur and Vijayawada.

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