India’s poor air quality can affect the future of millions of people. According to a report by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), one in eight deaths in the country was caused due to air pollution in 2017. In the very same year, our average life expectancy dropped by 1.7 years.

One of the main reasons behind this are vehicles burning fossil fuels and industries spewing particulate matter. Right from respiratory diseases and cardiovascular damage, to increase in global warming and acid rain, the carbon, nitrogen, and sulphur oxides produced have negative effects on plant and human life.

Enter BioD Energy, a Delhi-based social enterprise working towards reducing India’s pollution by converting used cooking oil (UCO) into bio-diesel, a clean and renewable form of fuel. The organisation produces 100 tonnes of bio-diesel a day in its processing facility at Bawal in Haryana.

Shiva Vig, Founder and CEO of BioD Energy, tells YourStory,

“Bio-diesel is a substitute for conventional fuels like petrol and diesel, and has immense potential. Besides being environment friendly, it enhances the energy security of the nation. We want to tap into this treasure trove and lay the path for a pollution-free India.”

The endeavour towards a greener tomorrow

Cooking oil is an indispensable ingredient to preparing food found everywhere, from restaurants to regular households. However, cooking oil cannot be used beyond a point and needs to be discarded. BioD Energy has a solution to manage and dispose of used cooking oil in an environmentally responsible way.

“We distribute calibrated containers to suppliers like McDonald’s, KFC, Oberoi Hotels, The Suryaa, Haldirams, and Nestlé, located across Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi. Once they fill the containers with used cooking oil, we collect and load it into vehicles and move it to a warehouse in Delhi for further filtration,” Shiva explains.

Chaaru Khurana, Food Safety and Hygiene Manager at The Suryaa Hotel in Delhi, has been overseeing this at her company. “BioD Energy collects about 125 litres of used cooking oil from the hotel every month after paying Rs 25 per litre. This initiative is beneficial since it not only checks wastage of cooking oil, but also ensures optimum utilisation. Besides, it gives us an opportunity to contribute towards environmental sustainability,” she says.

Once a considerable amount of oil is accumulated and distilled, it is transported to the production facility for processing. Here, it is converted into bio-diesel after adding substances like vegetable oils, animal fat, methanol, and glycerin followed by several chemical reactions.

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