Indian Railways are experimenting with the new eco-friendly biodiesel fuel to run passenger trains.New Delhi, India – January 17, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] The first successful trial run of a passenger train was conducted on December 31, 2002 when the Delhi-Amritsar Shatabdi Express used five percent of biodiesel as fuel. An Indian Railways board member said the trials using biodiesel were being conducted by the Railways and the first full-fledged run would be formally inaugurated by Railway Minister Nitish Kumar. Biodiesel will enable Indian Railways to save on its rising fuel bill while controlling pollution levels. Sulphur and lead emissions were reduced significantly when biodiesel was used, according to the Railways. If biodiesel is used, as a 10 percent blend with conventional diesel, it saves in the overall fuel costs for the railways. Ultimately, the percentage of biodiesel would go up to 15 percent in unison with the accepted global norms. The new green fuel is extracted from the seeds of the jatropha plant and Indian Oil is now engaged in laboratory tests of biodiesel. The alternative fuel is not only eco-friendly but also provides a renewable source as it is extracted from a plant. Its use would help bring down the emission levels and re-deploy the surplus manpower and contribute to environment protection. The plant can easily be grown on either side of railway tracks as it adopts itself well to arid and semi-arid conditions, demanding low fertility and moisture. The other advantages are the fuel’s contribution to national energy pool and the potential of creation of jobs in rural sector. On the global scale, the U.S. and the European Union have taken a number of recent initiatives to promote biodiesel as the clean, green fuel as it has a high octane and lubricity and readily mixes with diesel without any engine modification. It also scores in terms of availability and price. France, Germany and Italy have shown the way in increasing use of biodiesel.