Indian Railways has decided to promote use of alternative fuels such as biodiesel in a big way for powering its vast fleet of over 4000 diesel locomotives in its endeavour to adopt green technologies. Indian Railways is the single largest bulk consumer of diesel in the country and as mentioned in Railway Budget 2014-15, Indian Railways will start using biodiesel up to 5% of the total fuel consumption in diesel locomotives, stated Sadananda Gowda, Minister of Railways, during the inauguration of Bio-Fuels 2014 conference in New Delhi.
Diesel locomotives cater to a large segment of rail traffic in the country, hauling both passenger and freight trains. Indian Railways consume over two billion litres of diesel every year, for which it has to foot a bill of over Rs 15000 crore annually.
Therefore, even a small reduction in fuel consumption through blending with biodiesel will result in a substantial savings in the fuel bill. In addition, the attendant benefits of a cleaner environment would also accrue on account of lower carbon emission, without requiring any change in the locomotive design.