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To become a significant player in use and promotion of Bio-Diesel as a viable alternative to Petro-Diesel and to catalyse investment and R&D in the country by introducing up to 20% bio-diesel in rail-traction by the year 2017.


Bio-Diesel is a thrust area in finding solutions to the problems of Global Warming. Green House Gases (GHG) emitted by petroleum fuels are a matter of concern and governments worldwide have taken steps to introduce bio-diesels in varying measures as a substitute of fossil fuels.

Government of India’s Policy

The national policy has set a target of 20% by 2017 for blending of bio-diesel and bio-ethanol. The Government of India is also setting up a National Mission o­n Bio-Diesel to promote production and use of this green fuel. 

Indian Railways - Status

Indian Railways (IR) have a fleet of nearly 4500 diesel locomotives and growing rapidly. The annual consumption of high speed diesel is approximately 2.5 billion litres, nearly o­ne-tenth of the national consumption. This makes IR the single largest buyer and user of high speed diesel. The o­nus o­n IR, therefore, as a driver in induction of bio-diesel in transportation is higher than o­n any other entity.


Suitability of bio-diesel has been adequately established with up to 20% substitution (B20) o­n engine test beds of RDSO. There is no adverse impact o­n engine components and no significant penalty in engine power.

Production of bio-diesel involves trans-esterification of vegetable oils and animal fats in a processing plant. Technology and process is well established. Source of oils are typically plantations of Jatropha, Pongamia, raw fish oil, waste/used cooking oil etc.

There is an emerging trend in this field to adapt to third generation bio-diesel, which use lignocellulosic material and micro algae as sources. These use very little land, but are relatively hi-tech.

State of the Industry

Though several large and small bio-diesel plants have been set-up in India in the private sector, many of them have either shut down or are running below capacity. Due to lack of incentives, bio-diesel produced in India is not priced competitively against petroleum diesel. Many of the plants are surviving o­n the strength of export market. 


With an annual consumption of 2.5 billion liters of high-speed diesel, a 20% blend will create a demand of up to 500 million litres of bio-fuel o­n diesel locomotives alone. This has the potential to spur the bio-diesel industry in India to unprecedented levels of activities. Unlike the fragmented ownership of the fleets of buses and trucks, IR presents itself as a single user of nearly 4500 diesel locomotives. Even with a numerically small fleet the IR has the potential of not o­nly becoming a major influencing factor in driving the usage, investments and technology pertaining to bio-diesel.This is possible because this fleet is owned by a common management governed by common policy.

IROAF, as the nodal agency, will formulate policies and execute specific projects to achieve this.

Source : Indian Railways Organization For Alternate Fuels (IROAF) CMS Team Last Reviewed on: 29-09-2014  

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