Maharashtra: Used oil to biofuel

Maharashtra’s first biodiesel plant that utilizes used cooking oil as raw material was launched in Nerul. The government has tied up with Austrian firm Muenzer to run the plant.

The firm’s CEO Ewald-Marco Munzer told media persons at the inaugural event: “We are investing €10 million in this biodiesel plant. The success and efficiency of this initiative will solely depend on how readily we can get UCO from hotels, restaurants and even various canteens of colleges and schools. There should also be more awareness on how the repeated re-use of UCO can lead to health problems, including cardiac arrests and cancer.” Several other executives of the firm, which specializes in generating bio-fuels from liquid wastes, were present at the event.

Sanjay Shrivastaava, managing director of the joint venture, Muenzer Bharat Pvt Ltd, which will run the plant, said, “Besides mass awareness about the health hazards of UCO, government policies are also being modified to ensure environment friendly collection of used oil so that it can be used to make bio-fuel. Our food inspectors are empowered to walk into restaurants and roadside eateries to check the quality of cooking oil being used. Most importantly, all the citizens must realize that by having cheap ‘vadas’ fried in bad oil, they are spoiling their own health. It is best to give away the UCO.”

Approximately, 25 million metric tonnes of cooking oil is consumed per annum in India. “We will also give certificates of merit to restaurants, hotels and vendors who give away UCO through the proper channel. Often, UCO is disposed of in sewers, which clogs the drains. Also, biodiesel can reduce India’s dependency of fossil fuels,” said Shrivastaava.

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