Railways Ministry closes Indian Railways Organisation for Alternative Fuels (IROAF)
Railway Ministry has closed down the Indian Railways Organization of Alternate Fuel (IROAF), in effect from September 7, 2021.
- IROAF is a separate enterprise that works in the field of green fuels for transport.
- It recently invited bids for hydrogen fuel cell-based technology to run the trains.
- This closure would not affect the ongoing projects or contracts of IROA. With some administrative change, projects will be executed as usual.
- Work of IROAF will be transferred to Northern Railways and Railway Board.
- Solar power rolling stock or Alternate Fuel Electrical Directorate of the IROAF will be transferred to the Railway Board, while the existing tenders will be handled by Northern Railway.
Experiment with Bio-diesel
IROAF to its capacity had experimented with bio-diesel engines, CNG-fuelled engines etc earlier in order to find alternative to diesel. It had also been working on solar-powered trains in line with government’s plans to reduce carbon emission by adopting renewable energy by 2022.
Concerns with the set target
Indian Railways have not aligned itself with the target of adopting renewable energy by 2022. Only some minor projects and showcase installations have aligned with the target as of now. Railways is doing very little to contribute to the agenda set by Government of India.
IROAF is the single window on Indian Railways that deals with work related to use of Alternate fuels, other than the conventional traction. It seeks to introduce Bio Diesel in Indian Railways, convert Diesel Powered Multiple Units (DEMU) to dual fuel using Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). It also seeks to promote the use of Solar Energy in Rolling Stock & Mechanical Assets.