The Delhi College of Engineering plans to unveil a reactor with a capacity to produce over 600 litres of bio-diesel daily that would help to meet India's growing demand for fuel.
According to Naveen Kumar, chief of the bio-diesel research department in the college the reactor would be the first of its kind in India and capable of producing 600 litres of bio-diesel every day.
Kumar, a professor in the department of mechanical engineering, said his 10-member team took five months to complete the project at a cost of Rs.350,000.
"In a nutshell, bio-diesel is eco-friendly," Kumar told IANS.
"We have already developed small units with capacities of five, 10 and 50 litres and one 1,000-litre unit will be ready within five to six months," said Kumar.
While the ministry of non-conventional energy commissioned the 600 litre capacity unit, the Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA) commissioned the 1,000-litre unit.
"While, the earlier units had only one vessel, the new reactor has six vessels. It can produce at least 200 litres of bio-diesel in eight hours."
Currently, authorities are using 'karanja' and 'jatropha' seeds at their laboratories and are planning to cultivate more of the seeds to reach a target production of 10,000 litres of bio-diesel per annum within the next two years.
Kumar said he has been doing research on bio-diesel since 2000 and his primary motive was not limited to helping his students alone.
"The broader aim is to provide community-friendly technology to people in rural areas. If rural people can be trained on the subject and are provided the required technology, then a lot of our fuel problems can be solved.
"We have trained three groups - a team of women from Orissa, a group of farmers from Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan and a band of ex-servicemen from Uttar Pradesh - on how to extract bio-diesel from jatropha and karanja," said Kumar, who is using bio-diesel in two vehicles in the college campus as an experiment.
He said the farmers of Haryana have set up a 10-litre unit in Hisar and are producing bio-diesel to run tractors.
"India has around 66 million hectares of uncultivated land and the government is trying to use 11.2 million hectares for the cultivation of jatropha and karanja by 2012. If that can be achieved, the country can produce 20 percent of its transport fuel from bio-diesel."
The college has also successfully extracted bio-diesel from 'saal' seed, rice and used vegetable oils besides the above two seeds.
On marketing the innovation, Kumar said: "We are patenting the new machine but have not decided on the marketing aspect of it."
"However, we are ready to help rural people set up units for their personal use."