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Why in News?

  • Signifying a paradigm shift towards the use of alternate cooking fuel technology, the Namrup-based Assam Petrochemicals Limited (APL) has rolled out the country’s first methanol-based cooking fuel project-‘Green and Clean Fuel Pilot Project on Methanol Cooking Stove’.

Methanol Cooking Fuel Program:

  • Northeast and Assam Petro-chemicals, a state-owned company is launching Asia’s first cannisters based and India’s first “Methanol Cooking Fuel Program”.
  • 500 households inside the Assam Petro Complex will be the first pilot project, scaling it to 40,000 households in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Telangana, Goa and Karnataka.
  • Assam Petrochemicals Limited has been manufacturing methanol for the last 30 years and is in the process of upgrading their 100 TPD methanol plant to 600 TPD by Dec 2019. The safe handling cannister based cooking stoves are from Swedish Technology and through a Technology transfer a large-scale cooking stove manufacturing plant will come up in India.
  • In the next 18 months it will be producing 10 lakh Cook stoves and 1 Crore Cannisters per year.

Fueling the North East:

  • The cost of energy equivalent of one cylinder of LPG for Methanol is Rs. 650, compared to Rs. 850 per cylinder resulting in a minimum of 20% Savings.
  • For instance, in Manipur the cost of transportation of LPG is Rs. 200, whereas same cost for Methanol will be Rs. 12.
  • This provides for an excellent alternative as household fuel and commercial, institutional and fuel for restaurants.

Why Methanol?

  • Methanol can be used as an energy producing fuel, transportation fuel and cooking fuel, cutting down India’s oil import bill by an estimated 20% over the next few years. Unlike CNG, using methanol as a transportation fuel would require minimal alteration in the vehicles.
  • Methanol is a clean-burning fuel that produces fewer smog-causing emissions — such as sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter — and can improve air quality and related human health issues.
  • Methanol is most commonly produced on a commercial scale from natural gas. It can also be produced from renewable sources such as biomass and recycled carbon dioxide.
  • As a high-octane vehicle fuel, methanol offers excellent acceleration and power. It also improves vehicle efficiency.

Benefits of the Fuel:

  • Methanol is a promising fuel as it is clean, cheaper than fossil fuels and a good substitute for heavy fuels.
  • This technology is very unique as it handles methanol extremely safely, does not need regulator or any piping system.
  • The cooking medium can directly substitute LPG, Kerosene, Wood, Charcoal and any other fuel for cooking.
  • The gaseous form, Methanol – DME, can be blended in 20% ratio with LPG.
  • 2 litres canisters can last for full five hours on twin burners and 8 such Canister’s as rack can last for one month for a family of three.
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