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Use of Winter Diesel in Ladakh

  • 06 Jul 2020
  • 5 min read

Why in News

Recently, the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has sought approval from the Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA) for the use of winter diesel by armed forces for operations in high altitude areas such as Ladakh.

  • The winter diesel was introduced as a technological solution by the IOC in 2019 in high-altitude sectors like Ladakh, Kargil, Kaza and Keylong, which face the problem of freezing of diesel in their vehicles in extreme weather conditions.

Key Points

  • Winter Diesel:
    • It is a specialised fuel specifically for high altitude regions and low-temperature regions such as Ladakh, where ordinary diesel can become unusable.
    • It also meets the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) specification of BS-VI grade.
  • Characteristics:
    • Low Viscosity: It contains additives to maintain lower viscosity by enabling the fuel to remain fluid in such conditions.
      • Regular diesel fuel contains paraffin wax which is added for improving viscosity and lubrication. At low temperatures, the paraffin wax thickens or “gels” and hinders the flow of the fuel in the car engine.
      • The viscosity of a fluid is a measure of its resistance (due to internal friction) to deformation thereby maintaining the state of being thick and semi-fluid in consistency.
      • Paraffin wax is a soft colorless solid derived from petroleum, coal or shale oil that consists of a mixture of hydrocarbon molecules.
    • Low Pour Point: It has a low pour point (as low as minus 30-degree celsius). It is the temperature below which the liquid loses its flow characteristics.
      • The flow characteristics of regular diesel change at low temperatures and using it may be detrimental to vehicles.
      • Earlier, the IOCL provided the Diesel High sulphur Pour Point (DHPP -W) to armed forces, which also has a pour point of -30°C.
    • Higher Cetane Rating: It has a higher cetane rating — which is an indicator of the combustion speed of diesel and compression needed for ignition.
    • Lower Sulphur Content: It would lead to lower chemical deposits in engines and better performance.
  • Significance:
    • Border Tensions with China in Ladakh: It is expected that demand for the winter fuel may rise due to the border tensions in the Galwan valley in Ladakh for the patrolling purposes.
    • Boost to Local Economy: Supply of the special fuel to Ladakh would reduce the hardships faced by the local people for transportation and mobility during winter months, therefore facilitate the local economy and tourism.
    • Curb in Air Pollution: Before the launch of winter diesel, consumers in such areas were using kerosene to dilute diesel to make it usable, which leads to more air pollution.
      • Now use of winter diesel would replace use of Kerosene therefore helping in the reduction of air pollution.

Indian Oil Corporation Limited

  • Commonly known as Indian Oil it is an Indian government-owned oil and gas company (Maharatna Status) which was founded in 1959.
  • Headquarter: New Delhi
  • It is the largest commercial oil company in the country .
  • Functions: It operates in the entire hydrocarbon value-chain, including refining, pipeline transportation, marketing of petroleum products, exploration and production of crude oil, natural gas and petrochemicals.
  • Subsidiaries: It has subsidiaries in Sri Lanka (Lanka IOC), Mauritius [IndianOil (Mauritius) Lt]) and the Middle East (IOC Middle East FZE).

Directorate General Quality Assurance

  • The Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA) is under the Department Of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence.
  • The organisation provides Quality Assurance (QA) cover for the entire range of Arms, Ammunitions, Equipments and Stores supplied to Armed Forces.

Source: IE

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