Oil Minister HS Puri on Wednesday suggested mixing of renewable Dimethyl Ether (DME) in liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to meet the rising demand for the fuel used for cooking in households.

“As our LPG requirement is moving up, it would be a great step forward if the industry works together on renewable LPG or blending renewable DME in LPG by developing the right technology and scaling up the model,” the Minister said in his inaugural address at the World LPG Week 2022.

Sharing statistics on the growth of LPG usage in India, Puri said the number of domestic active LPG customers has increased to 31.28 crore as on November 1, 2022 taking India’s LPG coverage to 105.4 per cent. Similarly, the number of LPG bottling plants has increased to 205, while the number of LPG distributors has risen to 25,327 as on November 1, 2022.

An alternative fuel

DME is a synthetically produced alternative fuel. Under normal atmospheric conditions, DME is a colourless gas. It is used extensively in the chemical industry and as an aerosol propellant, solvent, fuel and refrigerant.

DME exhibits comparable calorific value and similarity of its thermal efficiency to traditional fuels. It is a clean-burning fuel with low emission and low particulate matter. Its physio-chemical properties make it a suitable substitute (or blending agent) for LPG, which is a mixture of propane and butane.

Tracking LPG cylinders

The Minister said new LPG cylinders will soon come fitted with QR codes, while the same will be pasted on the existing ones, helping consumers to track.

“Virtually every household in India is having an LPG cylinder today. Our PSUs are delivering more than 5 million cylinders a day. They have loaned nearly 500 million cylinders to households and the ownership lies with our companies. While the inventory is well accounted for, I do feel the technology of track and trace cylinders would be another great step forward in managing this huge set of cylinders under use,” Puri added.