New Delhi, Mar 30 : A car that runs only on biodiesel extracted from microalgae cultivated in marine systems was today unveiled by scientists here.
Science and Technology Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh flagged off the test-run of a sports utility vehicle that runs entirely on the biofuel, which may be used as an alternative to diesel.
The biodiesel was prepared from mats of microalgae found growing naturally in the West Coast of India by Central Salt Marine and Chemical Research Institute (CSMCRI), Bhavnagar.
Microalgae grow in either marine or freshwater systems and are primary producers in the oceans that convert water and carbon dioxide to biomass and oxygen in the presence of sunlight, officials said.
It is the outcome of an ambitious project initiated in April 2010 under the New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative (NMITLI) by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in collaboration with the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES).
The scientists had earlier conducted a test-run of a car using blended fuel comprising 20 per cent biodiesel and 80 per cent regular fuel.
The mileage derived from the test drive was 12.4 km, which is better than the normal average per litre of 10-11 km of the regular vehicles run on diesel, a CSMCRI official said.
As part of another development in this project, a 200 km test-run of a regular vehicle on neat biodiesel from marine microalgal source was performed today.
“This development is very important for us as fossil fuels are depleting day by day,” Deshmukh said, adding that it would be his endeavour to encourage the scientists to see if the project could be made commercially viable.