September 12, 2011, zeenews.india.com
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, he said.
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 plants.