Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) is targeting to ensure that at least 10% to 20% of LPG produced in the country is from renewable energy sources in the next two to three years, said director of the research and development wing of the company S S V Ramakumar.
He was speaking at the inauguration of the two-day National LPG Conclave 2020 in the city on Friday. He said their research has so far shown that LPG can be produced from alternate sources like vegetable oil, glycerol and biomass. Indian Oil is now working on technology to scale up that production.
“We already have proof of concept that bio mass can be converted into LPG. Now we are working on the technology for us to do that in large scale,” Ramakumar said. “The technology to convert glycerol, vegetable oil or even biomass into LPG is present already but yet to mature,” he added.
The conclave acknowledged that LPG’s growth potential as a cooking gas has nearly saturated, with more than 95% of households already being connected. Now, promoting LPG as an auto fuel has potential. In this regard, Ramakumar said Indian Oil had developed a technology to extract “auto LPG” directly from the fossil fuels.
“LPG as an auto fuel needs more olefinic properties, being a mixture of propane and butane, which is slightly different from our cooking gas requirements. However, this technology is also in the laboratory stage. We will install it soon in one of our refineries,” Ramakumar said.
Auto gas in our country is now CNG (compressed natural gas), which is slightly more efficient than LPG, he said. LPG produces less NOX and methane emissions, making it a cleaner form of energy. “CNG may give 1km more mileage than LPG per kg, but it gives more NOX and methane slip emissions, which are polluting. Auto LPG may also become more cost efficient, because our new extraction technology requires lower temperatures than usual,” Ramakumar said.
The conclave also plans to discuss potential for LPG being used in industrial and commercial purposes, including hotel, food and glass industries, among others.