Chennai firm’s new technology brings down fuel cost (Lead)

May 20th, 2008 - 1:52 pm ICT by admin  

By Jatindra Dash
Bhubaneswar, May 20 (IANS) It may now be possible to bring down the cost of emulsified fuel and also reduce India’s dependence on crude imports, thanks to a new technology developed by a Chennai company. “The technology we have developed does not use any additive or surfactant,” says Srinivasan Gopalakrishnan, managing director and inventor of Chennai-based Hydrodrive Systems and Controls.

“We do emulsification through a molecular engineering process, which has already been covered by a patent granted in several countries including Britain, Canada, India, the Philippines and patent pending in China, Japan and the US,” Gopalakrishnan, 56, told IANS.

An emulsified fuel, used in internal combustion engines and for combustion in boilers, furnaces and external combustion equipment, is a mixture of water in fuels. A known technology since 1900, it is considered eco-friendly because it reduces emission.

As oil and water generally do not mix, costly special additives or surfactants are used for surface tension modifications to manufacture emulsified fuels by mixing them and to retain stability for a longer period without oil and water getting separated.

Emulsified fuels currently sold by five European manufacturers are costlier than the conventional diesel fuel due to the use of costlier surfactants or additives.

The fuel produced for use in the internal combustion engines has minimum 10 percent to maximum 20 percent water in diesel. Due to the higher price compared to the conventional diesel fuel, the emulsified fuel marketing companies are unable to push the product and are dependent upon tax incentives.

“Our technology burns 25 percent water in 75 percent diesel as against the maximum 20 percent water in the diesel emulsion achieved by existing producers,” said Gopalakrishnan, a mechanical engineer with a management degree who set up Hydrodrive in 1981.

He added that the manufacturing process developed by his firm brings down the fuel cost to much below the cost of the conventional diesel or petrol or kerosene.

“India’s Super Auto Forge Limited which manufactures cold forged/cold extruded steel and aluminium components for the automotive industry has found after six months of testing that it saves fuel.

“Similarly the technology was tested in a tractor in the US and a vehicle in Canada. Both were found working without a problem. More tests are also in progress,” he said.

“We are now commercially offering the on-demand emulsification plant on a 14-year licence to individual industrial fuel users to cut down their fuel expenses,” Gopalakrishnan said.

He added that investment on the emulsification plant would be recoverable within 10 to 12 months through savings made in fuel consumption.

Gopalakrishnan said the new technology could help reduce India’s dependence on costly crude oil imports.

“If we use emulsified fuels with 20-25 percent water in all middle distillates and heavy distillates, which account for over 70 percent of the imported crude consumption, this will result in a saving of Rs.34,048 crore (Rs.340.48 billion or approximately $8 billion),” he said.

(Jatindra Dash can be contacted at jatindra.d@ians.in)

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