Saurabh Gupta | 23 May, 2015
Emulsified Upgraded Furnace Oil (E.U.F.O), a very fine mixture known as Water-in-Fuel Emulsion, is a green Eco-Friendly Fuel that not only improves fuel economy by an average of 5 percent but also decreases carbon deposits and soot formation on Boiler Tubes, Vice President - Corporate Sales of Creatnet Technology Pvt Ltd., Eeshwar Brij Chopraa told SME Times in an interview.
The Emulsified Furnace Oil produced by CTPL's technology is a guarantee of uniform and consistent quality of fuel, sludge and contamination free, with excellent combustion characteristics and significantly reduced emissions.
Excerpts of the interview...
Please share some details about your group - Creatnet Technology Pvt Ltd.
Eeshwar Brij Chopraa: Creatnet Technology was conceived and started in New Delhi in 2013 by Sameer Shah and Darshan Bhat, who were very impressed by fuel emulsification technology and how it benefits the environment both but by reducing fuel consumption and decreasing atmospheric pollution. After carefully researching about the field and evaluating all the technical options and existing players in this, they formed they own unique approach into this sphere. They imported one of the most efficient fuel homogenizing technologies today, from Russia, where it was developed by the St.Peterburg Technical University and mated it with the home grown approach to Fuel Emulsification as designed and developed by Goa based Ravi Deka, who is one of the pioneers in introducing this technology to India. The end result was the perfect synthesis of technology and practical knowledge along with a unique business model where instead of selling emulsifying machinery or additives, Eeshwar Chopraa joined the company with his vast knowledge of brand and product launches to set a platform for putting the Emulsion on the National map. Creatnet decided to provide Fuel Emulsification as a Service to Industrial Fuel dealers and high volume consumers. Starting production in march 2014, till date Creatnet has supplied over 2000MT of Emulsified Upgraded Furnace Oil via its channel partner M/s Stallion Stallion to selective clients such as Akums Pharaceuticals, Gravitas India etc., on regular basis.
You are a Delhi based start-up company producing alternative fuel for boilers, furnaces and industrial ovens called E.U.F.O (Emulsified Upgraded Furnace Oil). Why E.U.F.O?
Eeshwar Brij Chopraa: E.U.F.O is an advance process that first filters and Homogenizes Furnace Oil to remove all impurities and blends it into a uniform consistency, and than emulsifies it with 5-10 micron sized specially treated Water droplets (with water ratios as low as 5% to as high as 20%, depending on the application), into a very fine mixture known as Water-in-Fuel Emulsion.
When the burner or an injector atomizes such Emulsified Fuel, its highly homogenized nature produces very fine droplets, but more importantly, once fired into the Furnace or the Combustion chamber, the embedded water in the Emulsified Fuel explodes into steam in a series of tiny micro-explosions due to the sudden exposure to extreme heat. This rapid transformation shatters the host petroleum droplet into a microscopic mist having 10-fold more surface area and contact with air. It burns down completely leaving no unburned carbon or soot thus releasing all the calories trapped in the Fuel. This unique complete-combustion characteristic of emulsified fuels is known as "Secondary Atomization."
Environmentally, emulsified Fuel combustion releases up-to 30% less NOx, almost 50% less Sox (due to sulfur reducing additives) and 20% less particulate matter in flue gases and amazingly uses almost 15%-20% less Oxygen than conventional Furnace Oil in the same Furnace or Boiler which due to complete combustion and lower requirement of excess air, and as a result produces 10-20% less waste-heat.
The completely homogenized nature of the Emulsified Fuel ensures that there is no sludge or any other impurities in the Fuel Tanks due to which no periodic sludge removal and disposal is needed. This itself significantly reduces soil and groundwater contamination and insures complete usage of the purchased fuel.
Being an innovative start-up company what kind of challenges you have faced during the journey?
Eeshwar Brij Chopraa: The first challenge in our endeavor was in identifying the most effective technological solution that could not only make the perfect Fuel-Emulsion, but also handle the wide variance in Furnace Oil quality available in India.
The second biggest challenges in marketing Emulsified Fuels has been in overcoming the mental block of people who find it difficult to believe that mixing Fuel and Water can give positive results in combustion and that it actually release more thermal energy than normal fuel due to complete combustion and lesser requirement of excess air in burners.
Lastly, we have to constantly undo the damage done to the reputation to the field by players who tried to promote the Fuel Emulsions earlier, with immature products, having a poor understanding of the technology and how best to execute it implement it in different sectors. They usually grossly oversimplified the entire process by selling some emulsifying chemicals or promised extraordinary large fuel savings; but in the end couldn't deliver the results at the time of actual trials
What kinds of approach are you adopting for providing fuel related solutions?
Eeshwar Brij Chopraa: We have adopted a multi-tired approach to providing Fuel Emulsification solution but in both cases remaining as a back-end solution provider. We either tie up with dealers of Petroleum products whereby we make a Fuel Emulsion from their Furnace Oil stock and provide them necessary technical and marketing assistance to sell the finished product. Or we tie up with large consumers and convert their Furnace Oil into Emulsion and help them to optimize the fuel handling and combustion process for maximum efficiency and economy.
How one can switch to E.U.F.O? To adopt this fuel what kind of changes are required in the Burners or in the pumping system?
Eeshwar Brij Chopraa: E.U.F.O usage does not necessitate capital investment or any piping, pumping or Burner change if the client is already using Furnace oil in the Furnace or Boiler. All that is required is a thorough cleaning of the Service Tank and Filters as well as a flushing of the pipelines with Diesel. This is because emulsified fuels have a tendency to dislodge all the sludge and sediments trapped in the tank and pipelines and this ends clogging the filters and burners. We have faced several such situations earlier, whereby the clients actually thought that we had supplied them with a substandard products, and we actually had to analyze and prove to them that the dirt belonged to their tanks and to our highly filtered, homogenized and emulsified Oil.
What are the most significant barriers to use technology? Like operational issues.
Eeshwar Brij Chopraa: Apart from Secondary Atomization, which causes complete combustion of Emulsified Fuels, its second unique feature is that it requires much less excess air for combustion. In India the standard ratio for excess air in Furnaces is 15-20% and 14-15% in Boilers, which is kept too high in-order to compensate for poor quality of Fuel and improper Burner setting. However this is also the biggest reason for poor heating and high.
Now due to its complete combustion Emulsified fuels require significantly less excess air which results in better utilization of heat and gross reduction in waste heat. However, even though this aspect of Emulsions can be easily proven in a consistent manner in the practical field, it is an altogether another matter in implementing it as most of the Furnace Operators are poorly educated workers who indulge in lot of wrong work practices and have little resilience to change. With Boiler operators , things are a little better, but here again they are reluctant to make any changes or touch the combustion settings unless they are advised by the Boiler manufacturers themselves. So in a nutshell the most significant barrier in the technical field concerning Fuel Emulsions is again not technical but human.
How economic is the use of E.U.F.O?
Eeshwar Brij Chopraa: We consider the total savings achieved by switching over to our E.U.F.O. across the board. This includes a fuel savings upto 5% in case of Boilers and Thermic Heaters, and about 2-3% in Furnaces, the reduction in electricity expenditure in heating the oil as the E.F.O requires a preheating only up-to 80 degrees, the reduction of downtime and maintenance time and the complete utilization of fuel without any wastage such as in Tank sludge. Thus, you can safely assume that switching over to E.F.O may save you company up to 10% vis a vis normal Furnace Oil. However in case of a client are currently using Diesel, savings would be close to 60% with current prices.
Who are your potential clients? And what are the big challenges on the way?
Eeshwar Brij Chopraa: Our biggest target sector are industries which use Boiler and Thermic Heaters which currently use either Furnace Oil or Diesel as their Heating Fuel. Our E.U.F.O. has proved equally successful in the Non-metallic re-heating and melting furnaces. However, unlike the Boiler users, implementing the usage of E.U.F.O. in Furnaces is far more challenging due to the poor quality of manpower usually operating the Furnaces as well as the poor conditions and maintenance of the Furnaces and Burners themselves.
Thus we are putting most of our energies in converting Boilers in the FMCG, Pharma and Chemical companies from normal F.O to our E.U.F.O. for better fuel economy and reduction of maintenance.
Challenges in penetrating this sector are a combination of skepticism, red-tape and demands for impossible discounts. And sadly we have also found that even after providing them extensive laboratory and real-life test reports about our fuel and even an impressive client list, many of these company's employees still don't want to risk trying out a new fuel solutions in the fear that something may go wrong and that they may face the brunt of the management and put their jobs on the line.
Corruption in the company employees ranks who are habituated in receiving bribes from unscrupulous dealers and transporters for accepting sub-standard and adulterated fuel had also been a major negative factor hampering or efforts.
What kinds of supports are required to meet those challenges?
Eeshwar Brij Chopraa: We intend to be leaders in Fuel emulsification industry in the country and now move surely and steadily from the concept stage over to expansion and consolidation of the market.. Thus we are currently looking forward for a preliminary round of investment of about Rs. 25 Crores for setting up the two plants and for covering the Capital, Operational expenses and working capital.
How you see the future of this technology?
Eeshwar Brij Chopraa: The rate of Furnace oil consumption in India had been falling yearly due to factors like high international crude prices, artificially high domestic prices and availability of other energy sources like Natural gas. However, Indian refineries produce about 14 million tons of Furnace Oil and till 2013-14, domestic consumption was only 5 million tons per year. About 38 % is consumed by various manufacturing industries in their furnaces, heaters and boilers, and 10% by the power generation sector, all of which are prime candidate for availing the befits of E.U.F.O..
So, our target segment of the Furnace Oil consumer's market is worth Rs.4,555 crores at today's low prices of Rs 26 per litre.
The recent reduction of F.O. prices in India from about Rs 45 to the current prices of Rs.28 lead to a steady revival of the Furnace Oil market, with many users who earlier switched over to other fuels making a comeback.
(Mr. Eeshwar Chopraa can be reached at email@example.com)