Kerala government has launched an eco-friendly scheme to convert fossil fuel-run fishing boats into LPG-driven vessels.
As part of the socio-economic development project Parivarthanam, a initiative of the Kerala State Coastal Area Development Corporation (KSCADC) and Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT).
Minister for Fisheries, Harbour Engineering and Culture Saji Cheriyan on Friday reviewed the trial of LPG in fishing boats at Vizhinjam near here.
The Department of Fisheries said the trial showed that fuel cost could be saved by 50-55 per cent by using LPG.
“The trial was conducted in association with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL), which has developed a specially-designed cylinder customised for use in fishing boats,” the department said in a press release.
Emphasising the need for cost-effective and sustainable practices, Cheriyan said the trial revealed that fisherfolk can to save costs.
“Fishermen face a host of issues like high fuel cost and lack of adequate catch due to depletion of marine resources. The shift from fuels like kerosene and petrol to LPG in traditional fishing boats will bring down the steadily increasing operational cost borne by fishermen,” the Minister said in the release.
The research and development (R&D) centre of HPCL, in collaboration with Pune-based Vanaz Engineers Limited, developed the customised LPG kit exclusively for LPG-powered outboard engines.
According to Roy Nagendran, the CEO of Parivarthanam, the use of LPG in boats would reduce environmental pollution.
“A boat powered by a 10 HP engine normally requires six to 10 litres of kerosene for one-hour operation. The wastage of a fuel like kerosene is also high as around 20 per cent of it flows out into the sea. A 2.5 kg LPG kit is enough for one-hour operation of a boat. When compared to the cost of fossil fuels, fishermen will benefit substantially from the shift. Moreover, more than one engine can be connected from a single LPG kit,” Nagendran said.
The outboard motor (OBM) using kerosene/petrol can be easily converted into an eco-friendly and cost-effective fuel and the LPG conversion kit can be connected to the OBM without any major changes to it, the department said.
Fishermen can utilise the existing engines to attach the conversion kit without incurring any extra cost.
Widespread use of kerosene in outboard engines often causes the unburnt fuel eing flushed out into the sea. When these boats operate in inland waters, there would be an adverse impact on the eco system and aquatic life, the release said.
The LPG kits have been designed specifically for the OBM considering requirements like speed, safety, ease of use and savings.