Thursday, May 6

Green fuel for barges passing through Kolkata

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Barges sailing up National Waterway 1, between Haldia and Varanasi, will soon be using a clean-burning fuel instead of diesel. Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has asked Cochin Shipyard to retrofit the engines of three of its workboats so they can burn methanol instead. The shipyard will get the work done by Hooghly Dock and Port Engineers Ltd (HDPEL) in Howrah, with which it has formed a joint venture.

Work on the boats will start in January. “Shipping minister Nitin Gadkari wants a greener and cheaper fuel for inland water transport. Methanol comes for Rs 26/litre compared to Rs 67/litre for diesel. We have also placed orders with Cochin Shipyard for six new boats that can run on methanol. Plans have also been made for bunkering of methanol along National Waterway 1 as the boats will have to be refueled. The retrofitting of an existing boat should take about Rs 2 crore-Rs 3 crore,” said Pravir Pandey, officiating chairman, IWAI and project director, Jal Marg Vikas.

Pandey was chief guest at The Bengal Chamber’s annual shipping conclave in Kolkata on Friday. According to Pandey, there has been a steady rise in the amount of cargo moved along waterways in the last four-and-a-half years. While moving more cargo by river will reduce pollution and congestion on roads, once barges start burning methanol, there will be little emission along the river as well.

Source: Times of India

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