Pellets, an alternative to LPG

Commercial kitchens in India have been traditionally resorting to LPG as a fuel for mass cooking. Examples being hospitals, colleges, ashrams, NGOs and messes. In the recent past, fluctuating LPG prices have been a significant cause of worry for the owners engaged in public cooking impacting their bottom line and business planning.

This trend has been more dominant in the last two to three quarters, where decreased production of crude oil has disturbed the demand & supply cycle and put pressure on prices. Other economic factors such as global currencies weakening against the US dollar have added to the chaos.

Adding fuel to the LPG flare is the rising environmental concern around the use of fossil fuels which are potentially disrupting the entire ecosystem. Against this backdrop of the rising need for sustainable as well as profitable fuel solutions, an obvious choice would be to allow cleaner fuels to take the main stage. Pellets, also known as pellet fuels is one such alternative that is not only economically viable but also adequately addresses the issue of global warming.

So, what are pellets? Organic matter or biomass compressed into biofuels are called pellets, made either from industrial waste and co-products, food waste, agricultural residues, energy crops, or virgin lumber.

According to the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), India was the ninth largest exporter of agricultural products in 2017, and the demand is only swelling owing to government impetus, competitive advantage concerning the availability of land, agro-climatic conditions, etc. Additionally, the Indian food processing industry is one of the largest industries in India and is ranked fifth in terms of the production, consumption, export and expected growth, accounting for 32 percent of the country's total food market.

The above study ascertains that the bi-product of the agriculture sector, as well as the process food industry along with other industrial wastes such as rick husk, dried grains from distilleries, wood chips among other biodegradable residues, are available in abundance in our country, which can be utilised to produce pelletised biomass.

These solid renewable fuels have several comfort and ecology benefits: low price, broad residue mix, relative ease of transportation and storage. Apart from this, biomass combustion does not affect the overall CO balance as emissions such as SOx, NOx, and volatile organic compounds from burning pellets, in general, is low in comparison to other forms of combustion. A real viable alternative to other sources of energy.

Now that we have understood the benefits of pellets over other fossil fuels let's come back to how it can ease the troubles in the wake of LPG prices being volatile. To fulfill cooking needs, especially in case of bulk food preparation in hotels, restaurants, office canteens, hospital messes and various other commercial kitchens such as these, one can opt for pellet stoves instead of the regular cooking system.

The pellets when used in patented stoves, deliver LPG like flame while ensuring faster cooking and consistent food flavour. Brands specialising in these kinds of stoves are capable of meeting a majority of any kitchen's needs, and can completely replace conventional fuels in kitchens.

So would you replace an old-age LPG based cooking with something more sustainable?

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