New Delhi: In a significant move which can
reduce the fuel bill of defence forces, DRDO is experimenting
with bio-diesel for military vehicles such as the bullet-proof
Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs).
The field trials of the bio-diesel on military vehicles
are being conducted at DRDO`s Pune-based lab, Vehicle Research
and Development Establishment (VDRE), which specialises in
developing defence vehicles.
"Defence Ministry has approved the directives for user
trials of the bio-diesel and all the tests would be completed
in another six month`s time," DRDO Chief Controller William
Selvamurthy said here.
"We are testing the fuel in terms of torque, power and
other parameters keeping in mind engine`s performance. 20 per
cent of bio-diesel mixed with regular diesel has been accepted
by the engines," said Director, Defence Institute of Bio-
Energy Research (DIBER), Zakwan Ahmed.
Results of the tests which are being carried out on BMP-II
engine, Swaraj Mazda and 2.5 tonne Tata trucks are being
analysed for further improvement in the fuel and its quality,
The bio-diesel extracted from Jatropha seeds is produced
by DRDO at its Secunderabad-based facilities, where over 400
acres of land is being used for growing the plant.
During the technical trial phase, the bio-fuel experts in
DRDO successfully managed to increase its shelf life by two
years by increasing the proportion of anti-oxidants in it.
"We have also added anti-freezing agents in this fuel to
increase its freezing point so that it can be used in high
altitude areas," Ahmed said.
The project to develop bio-fuels for military vehicles and
tanks was started a couple of years ago with DRDO making a
significant breakthrough in developing oil which can be used
to replace diesel in automobiles from the seeds of Jatropha