Wednesday, November 18, 2009

City to green its roads with low-sulphur fuel

City to green its roads with low-sulphur fuel
Ajith Athrady, New Delhi, Nov 17, DHNS:

Come April next year and given some political will Bangalore will completely jettison the dirty automobile fuels of the present.

In a country where environmental issues have consistently been at the bottom of public worry and public policy, the complete switch to ultra low sulphur (ULS) fuel (both petrol and diesel) in which the sulphur content will be much low compared to fuel available now, would considerably reduce noxious emissions.

Currently, diesel available in Bangalore has sulphur content of 350 parts per million (ppm) and petrol has 150 ppm. The new ULS will have just 50 ppm sulphur.

A recent report by Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), in coordination with Enzen Global, reveals that increased number of personalised vehicles, especially two-wheelers and cars, are contribute to high levels of pollution in Bangalore. According to the report, Bangalore houses 6.5 million people, but the city faces maximum threat from vehicular pollution, especially two-wheelers.

The growth of two-wheelers has increased from 0.75 million in 1997 to over 2.04 million two-wheelers now (73 per cent), while cars make up for three per cent of the total vehicular population.

To reduce pollution in urban areas, the Supreme Court had ordered the Centre to introduce stringent emission norms.

To adhere the apex court order, the Centre brought 13 mega cities of the country, including Bangalore, under the Bharat Stage IV (also called as Euro IV) emission norms by April 1, 2010, which means supplying low sulphur-content fuel.

“According to Auto Fuel Policy, 13 mega cities already have Bharat Stage III emission regulations. These cities would meet Bharat Stage IV from April 2010 and the rest of the country will upgrade to Bharat Stage III regulations,” sources in the Ministry of Petroleum said.

While ULS will give Bangaloreans a respite from pollution, there are some related problems. The decision to introduce ultra low sulphur means vehicle owners have to brace up for a rise in fuel prices.

The Union Petroleum Ministry and the State Government will decide on the price structure for the new fuel variety.

In this context, sources said that the high price will primarily be because of the process that will be involved in removing the sulphur content from petrol and diesel.
The stage is set for receiving the green fuel as oil companies have instructed retail outlets to begin the process of cleaning their tanks to enable them to procure the less pollutant oil.

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