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Bio-diesel is a fatty acid of ethyl or methyl ester made from virgin or used vegetable oils (both edible and non-edible) and animal fats. The main commodity sources for Bio-diesel in India can be non-edible oils obtained from plant species such as Jatropha curcas (Ratanjyot), Pongamia pinnata (Karanj), Calophyllum inophyllum (Nagchampa), Hevcca brasiliensis (Rubber) etc. Bio-diesel contains no petroleum, but it can be blended at any level with petroleum diesel to create a Bio-diesel blend or can be used in its pure form. Just like petroleum diesel, Bio-diesel Operates in compression engine; which essentially require very little or no engine modifications because Bio-diesel has properties similar to petroleum diesel fuels. It can be stored just like the petroleum diesel fuel and hence does not require separate infrastructure. The use of Bio-diesel in conventional diesel engines results in substantial reduction of un-brunt hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and particular matters. Bio-diesel is considered clean fuel since it has almost no sulphur, no aromatics and has about 10% built-in oxygen, which helps it to burn fully. Its higher cetane number improves the ignition quality even when blended in the petroleum diesel. 

As mentioned in the Introduction chapter for new vehicles (except 2 and 3 wheelers) compliance of Bharat Stage II emission norms are to be enforced in the entire country from1.4.2005 and Euro III equivalent norms by 1.4.2010. In addition to 4 metros where Bharat Stage II norms are already in place, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Pune, Surat, Kanpur and Agra should also meet this norm from 1.4.2003. The four metros and the other seven cities should comply with Euro III and Euro IV equivalent emission norms from 1.4.2005 and 1.4.2010 respectively. The 2 and 3 wheelers should confirm to Bharat Stage II norms from 1.4.2005 all over the country and Bharat Stage III norms preferably from 1.4.2008 but not later than 2010. For new vehicles, a drastic reduction in sulphur content (<350ppm) and higher cetane number (>51) will be required in the petroleum diesel produced by Indian Refineries. Bio-diesel meets these two important specifications and would help in improving the lubricity of law sulphur diesel. The present specification of flash point for petroleum diesel is 350 C which is lower than all the countries in the world (>550C). Bio-diesel will help in raising the flash point, a requirement of safety. 

B20 (a blend of 20 percent by volume Bio-diesel with 80 percent by volume petroleum diesel) has demonstrated significant environmental benefits in US with a minimal increase in cost for fleet operations and other consumers. Bio-diesel is registered as a fuel and fuel additive with the US Environment Protection Agency and meets clean diesel standards established by the California Air Resources Board. Neat (100 percent) Bio-diesel has been designated as an alternative fuel by the Department of Energy and Department of Transportation of US. Studies conducted with Bio-diesel on engines have shown substantial reduction in Particulate matter (25-50%). However, a marginal increase in NOx (1-6%) is also reported; but it can be taken care of either by optimization of engine parts by using De-NOx catalyst (De-NOx catalyst will be necessary for Bharat-III / IV complaint engines). HC and CO emission were also reports to be lower. Non-regulated emissions like PAH etc were also found to be lower.

Bio-diesel has been accepted as clean alternative fuel by US and its production presently is about 100 million Gallons. Each state has passed specific bills to promote the use of Bio-diesel by reduction of taxes. Sunflower, rapeseed etc is the raw material used in Europe whereas soyabean is used in USA. Thailand uses palm oil, Ireland uses frying oil and animal fats. Due to its favorable properties, Bio-diesel can be used as fuel for diesel engines (as either, B5-a blend of 5% Bio-diesel in petro-diesel fuel) or B20 or B100). USA uses B 20 and B100 Bio-diesel, France uses B5 as mandatory in all diesel fuel. It can also be used as an additive to reduce the overall sulfur content of blend and to compensate for lubricity loss due to sulfur removal from diesel fuel.

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