India Seeks Used Cooking Oil to Cut Energy Imports
A vendor fries samosas at a street food stall in India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

India Seeks Used Cooking Oil to Cut Energy Imports

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(Bloomberg) -- India has a plan to achieve Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s goal of reducing the country’s dependence on energy imports, and it starts in the kitchen.

Three main state-run fuel retailers — Indian Oil Corp., Bharat Petroleum Corp. and Hindustan Petroleum Corp. — are looking to turn used cooking oil that might otherwise be discarded into biodiesel fuels. The retailers are seeking leftover cooking oils from bulk consumers such as hotels, restaurant and canteens across 100 cities, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said in New Delhi on World Biofuels Day.

The retailers will pay 51 rupees ($0.72) per liter to buy biodiesel derived from used cooking oil in the first year, 52.7 rupees in the second year and 54.5 rupees in the third. As one of the world’s top edible oil consumers, India uses about 27 billion liters of cooking oil each year, of which 1.4 billion liters can be collected to produce 1.1 billion liters of biodiesel, according to the ministry.

India is the third biggest crude oil consumer on the globe and meets about 85% of its needs through imports, exposing the economy to the risks of price and supply disruptions often caused by geopolitical tensions and trade wars. The prime minister has set a target to reduce such overseas energy purchases by 10 percentage points by 2022, through increased domestic output and greater use of alternative fuels.

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