Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav: ONGC subsidiary MRPL seminar pitches for sustainable future with green fuels

Experts from ONGC subsidiary Mangalore Refinery and Petroleum Limited (MRPL) deliberated on key issues pertaining to clean energy and the way forward towards a sustainable future during a seminar on “Sustainable Tomorrow with Green Fuels” on 19 March 2021. The seminar was a part of the observance of “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav” – an initiative of the government to celebrate 75 years of India’s independence.

Delivering the introductory remarks through virtual platform, Secretary MoP&NG Tarun Kapoor explained the significance of the celebration of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. He stressed the need to ensure the energy security of the nation while also ensuring a sustainable future.

Panelists during the session on Sustainable Tomorrow with Green Fuels
Panelists during the session on Sustainable Tomorrow with Green Fuels

Speaking on the Role of government’s Ujjwala scheme in the transformation of society towards sustainable development, Director (Finance) MRPL Pomila Jaspal spoke on the conventional ways of cooking with bio-gas in rural areas and its effects on health and environment. Ms Jaspal noted that 70% of Indian population lives in the rural areas and among them 80% use biomass for cooking. She mentioned that 5 lakh premature deaths in India per year are due to health hazards from conventional cooking.

Ms Jaspal asserted that the situation in the rural area is improving with the government’s Ujjwala Yojana. “The government’s initiative of providing LPG gas to rural families has been a big step. In the very first year 22 million LPG gases were distributed against the set target of 5 million. There has been a stooping increase in the use of LPG by 56% in 2019 compared to 2014,” said Ms Jaspal.

Director (Finance) MRPL Pomila Jaspal speaking on the role of Ujjwala scheme
Director (Finance) MRPL Pomila Jaspal speaking on the role of Ujjwala scheme

She further noted that the Ujjwala scheme is also a boost towards women empowerment as it not only eases the living of the rural women but also boosts their confidence since one salient feature of the scheme include issuance of loan only to women beneficiaries. Mr Jaspal noted that the scheme is specifically aimed at helping the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families. “Key objectives of the Ujjwala scheme are women empowerment, healthy cooking, ensuring quality and ease of living and lessen health hazards. The yojna has gone long way to attain sustainable development goals,” she added.

Speaking on Responsible and Affordable Green Energy for Sustainable Development of Coastal Karnataka, Professor & HOD Chemistry Department of NITK Dr Arun M Isloor said that connectivity is key for any sustainable development of Bangalore. He asserted that the state government is working on initiating eco-friendly projects like construction of six tunnels to connect Bangalore with coastal Karnataka. He said that the government is also working on transformation of the railways to reduce travel time for both trade and tourists.

Dr Arun M Isloor addressing the gathering
Dr Arun M Isloor addressing the gathering

Dr Isloor mentioned that the major focus is on capital Bangalore – which comes under the top 30 global start-up ecosystem. He said that the government’s Karnataka Digital Economy Mission aims at having 10,000 start-ups and creating 1,00,000 jobs. He mentioned that the key enablers to achieve the vision are better quality of life, low cost of living and great education system.

GGM-Tec Services MRPL Shyam Prasad Kamat spoke on the Clean Fuels initiative of MRPL:- BS-VI MS & HSD, Ethanol Blending in MS, 2G Ethanol and Bio ATF. Stating that the Indian Energy Basket has about 75% dependency on fossil fuels, Mr Kamat spoke on the importance of clean fuel. Explaining how fossil fuels emit pollutants harmful to environment and health, he informed about the specific effects of major pollutants like particulate matter, NOx, SOx and hydrocarbons.

GGM-Tec Services MRPL Shyam Prasad Kamat
GGM-Tec Services MRPL Shyam Prasad Kamat

Mr Kamat said that global initiatives like the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Kyoto Protocol, etc. gave major thrust towards the shift to clean fuels and India has been a part of this and working on achieving the targets. Speaking on MRPL’s clean fuel initiatives, Mr Kamat asserted that the ONGC subsidiary has been working in line with the government policies to move towards cleaner fuels.

“In order to mitigate the effects of climate change, MRPL has been taking several initiatives like producing BS VI compliant automobile fuels – both petrol and diesel, IMO – marine fuel oil, bio-fuels, etc. MRPL’s biofuels production plans include 2G Ethanol and Biojet or Bio-ATF. MRPL’s estimate investment for BS VI specifications is Rs 1810 crore,” said Mr Kamat.

Speaking on the Effective, Optimal and Environment-friendly Connectivity for Industrial Growth, Ex-Chairman of the Mangaluru Chapter of CII Kalbavi Prakash Rao spoke on the potential of alternate sources of energy like wind power, solar power, geothermal energy, etc. Mr Rao noted that the India has the world’s 5th largest installed wind capacity of 22.6 GW and wind potential is assessed over 100 GW at 80 m hub. He said that the recent government policies are targeted to reach 60 GW by 2020.

Ex-Chairman of the Mangaluru Capter of CII Kalbavi Prakash Rao
Ex-Chairman of the Mangaluru Capter of CII Kalbavi Prakash Rao

Over the power created from tidal energy, he said, “One advantage is that tidal energy spins turbines and the disadvantages are the availability of sites and the high cost of construction.”  On geothermal energy, he explained that heat contained in underground rocks and fluid can be tapped for energy. Stating that geothermal energy supplies 1% of world energy, he mentioned that 22 countries in the world currently use geothermal energy – which has huge potential as renewable energy.

The session concluded with an interactive question and answer session, during which key issues like need for ethanol blending, introduction of advanced technologies to bring in more renewable resources, efficiency of solar panel, etc. were raised. Answering a query on super window, Dr Isloor explained that it is not just for solar panels but to generate and use the heat of the sun to keep a building warmer in the winter and cooler in summer.

Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav

The seminar, moderated by MRPL’s Director Refinery Sanjay Verma, was organized at St Aloysius College in Mangaluru and was attended by a huge number of students and academics. The seminar was also webcasted and attended by many from across the industry.