India readies LPG kit for fishing boats

Kochi, October 23:

A newly-developed LPG kit that could be an economical and environment-friendly alternative to kerosene as fuel for fishing boats was on display at the Fifth India International Boat Show (IIBS) here.

The kit, developed by Dehradun-based Gas Tech Electronics, is being marketed by their sister concern Alfa Eco Systems. The LPG kit has become hugely popular among fishermen in Gujarat since its launch there earlier this year, said Ashish Shah of Alfa Eco Systems.

“Over 5,000 LPG kits have been sold there. This is an economical as well as ecologically friendly product, which is compatible with two and four-stroke boat engines. This would also reduce emissions by 80 percent,” Shah said. The kit would cost Rs 9,000 for a two-stroke engine Rs 6,500 for a four-stroke engine.

“While it takes five litres of kerosene to run an 8 bhp engine for one hour in the high seas, it takes just 750 gm of LPG for our kit,” explained Shah, who also received an award in the innovative technology category at the IIBS that concluded Sunday. But V Vivekanandan, chief of the South Indian Federation of Fishermen Societies, said they had tried a few similar kits over the last few years but were not completely satisfied with them.

“But I have heard that Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd and another firm have started trials. If the prices mentioned by Alfa are true, then the investment on it could be recovered well under a mo-nth,” said Vivekanandan.

Kerala Fisheries Minister S. Sarma said he has asked authorities in Matsyafed, the apex federation of fisherman co-operative societies in Kerala, to look into technical aspects and study the claims made by companies producing the LPG kits.

“We have already announced that the government would provide subsidy for 15,000 such kits,” said Sarma. The IIBS business exhibition show had special segments on leisure boating, marine equipment, marine engines, navigational and telecommunication aids.