Impressing the President, Prime Minister, Defence Minister and the foreign dignitaries, the Indian Navy for the first time displayed its biodiesel-fuelled interceptor crafts during the first International Fleet Review on the eastern coast of India. Apart from the daredevilry and the display of its conventional might, the force’s effort was also to showcase its progress in the usage of green energy.
“It is our first effort under the various green initiatives undertaken till date, to use alternate form of energy in the fleet. For the first time, we will display our FICs (Fast Interceptor Crafts) running on biofuel, during the IFR,” Admiral R.K. Dhowan, Chief of Naval Staff, said.
During the show of strength at the International Fleet Review on Saturday morning, two fast interceptor crafts passed from near the Presidential Yacht. Marked with green bands, the small interceptor vessels zoomed past in high speed.
“Use of alternate forms of fuel is one of the primary focus areas of the Green Initiatives Programme of Indian Navy. Indian Navy, in collaboration with Defence Institute of Bio-Energy Research (DIBER), has explored the possibility of using biodiesel on our equipment,” a naval official said. DRDO’s Defence Institute of Bio-Energy Research is based in Haldwani in Nainital district of Uttarakhand. It has been active in developing bio-energy technologies for use in the defence forces. “To be a centre of excellence for eco-friendly application of bio-energy resources,” is the vision of the institute, which has been instrumental in research in bio-energy and biofuel. Apart from that, the institute also works for bio-resource conservation and crop improvement, including biotechnological approach. They work to enhance the performance of bio-products from Himalayan flora. Talking about the biofuel used for the interceptor crafts, a naval spokesperson said that the biodiesel developed by DIBER from the plant Jatropha Curacas, was blended with normal diesel, and a 20% blend (B20) of this biodiesel was progressively tried on the naval equipment. Talking of the benefits of the biodiesel, the official said that the technology helped reduce emissions considerably, thereby bringing down the carbon footprint of the vessels and equipment. He said the experience with the performance of such vessels was also satisfactory.
“The trials have been successfully conducted on MT vehicles at INS Shivaji, a diesel generator onboard a fuel barge at the naval dockyard at Mumbai, a shore generator at the naval dockyard at Visakhapatnam, and on two Fast Interceptor Crafts here, over the past one-and-a-half years. The performance of equipment with B20 blend biodiesel is at par with normal diesel, and has less emissions,” he said. Officials said that the experiment with the biofuels on all these platforms was quite encouraging. After that, they decided to showcase the green initiative in front of the most distinguished foreign guests on the platform of an event of the magnitude of an IFR. “It is reflective of our commitment to add a green footprint to our operations,” the official said.