Biofuels in India

Biofuel in India

Analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Strategic Analysis of the Indian Biofuels Industry, reveals that the market is an emerging one and has a long way to go before it catches up with global competitors .

The Government is currently implementing an ethanol-blending program and considering initiatives in the form of mandates for biodiesel. Due to these strategies, the rising population, and the growing energy demand from the transport sector, biofuels can be assured of a significant market in India. On 12th September 2008, the Indian Government announced its 'National Biofuel Policy'. It aims to meet 20% of India's diesel demand with fuel derived from plants. That will mean setting aside 14 million hectares of land. Presently fuel yielding plants cover less than 500,000 hectares. .

Jatropha incentives in India

Jatropha incentives in India is a part of India's goal to achieve energy independence by the year 2012. Jatropha oil is produced from the seeds of the Jatropha curcas, a plant that can grow in wastelands across India, and the oil is considered to be an excellent source of bio-diesel. India is keen on reducing its dependence on coal and petroleum to meet its increasing energy demand and encouraging Jatropha cultivation is a crucial component of its energy policy.

Large plots of waste land have been selected for Jatropha cultivation and will provide much needed employment to the rural poor of India. Businesses are also seeing the planting of Jatropha as a good business opportunity. The Government of India has identified 400,000 square kilometres (98 million acres) of land where Jatropha can be grown, hoping it will replace 20% of India's diesel consumption by 2011.

Implementation

The former President of India, Dr. Abdul Kalam, is one of the strong advocaters of jatropha cultivation for production of bio-diesel. In his recent speech, the Former President said that out of the 600,000 km² of wasteland that is available in India over 300,000 km² are suitable for Jatropha cultivation. Once this plant is grown the plant has a useful lifespan of several decades. During its life, Jatropha requires very little water when compared to other cash crops.

Recently, the State Bank of India provided a boost to the cultivation of Jatropha in India by signing a Memorandum of Understanding with D1 Mohan, a joint venture of D1 Oils plc, to give loans to the tune of 1.3 billion rupees to local farmers in India. Farmers will also be able to pay back the loan with the money that D1 Mohan pays for the Jatropha seeds.

Indian Railways

The Indian Railways has started to use the oil (blended with diesel fuel in various ratios) from the Jatropha plant to power its diesel engines with great success. Currently the diesel locomotives that run from Thanjavur to Nagore section and Tiruchirapalli to Lalgudi, Dindigul and Karur sections run on a blend of Jatropha and diesel oil.

Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh has entered into a formal agreement with Reliance Industries for Jatropha planting. The company has selected of land at Kakinada to grow jatropha for high quality bio-diesel fuel. Kerala is planning a massive Jatropha planting campaign.

Chhattisgarh

Chhattisgarh has decided to plant 160 million saplings of jatropha in all its 16 districts during 2006 with the aim of becoming a bio-fuel self-reliant state by 2015. Chhattisgarh plans to earn Rs.40 billion annually by selling seeds after 2010. The central government has provided Rs.135 million to Chhattisgarh this year for developing jatropha nursery facilities.

In May 2005, Chief Minister Raman Singh became the first head of a state government to use jatropha diesel for his official vehicle. Chhattisgarh plans to replace with jatropha fuel all state-owned vehicles using diesel and petrol by 2007. Chattisgarh Biofuel Development Authority now oversees the production of the Jatropha curcas seed as a rich source of bio-diesel.

Karnataka

Farmers in semi-arid regions of Karnataka are planting Jatropha as it is well suited to those conditions.
Labland Biodiesel is a Mysore based Private Limited Company. Since the year 2002, the Company is active in Biodiesel and Jatropha curcas-based Research and Development activities headed by its Chairman and Managing Director, Dr. Sudheer Shetty.

Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu is aggressively promoting the plantation of Jatropha to help farmers over come the loss due to irregular rains during the past few years. The government has contracted the development of Jatropha in Tamilnadu in a large scale to four entrepreneurs. Namely M/s Mohan Breweries and Distilleries Limited. M/s Shiva Distilleries Limited, M/s Dharani Sugars and Chemicals Limited and M/s Riverway Agro Products Private Ltd. Currently the firms have cultivated the plant in about 3 square kilometres as against the goal of 50 km². The government of Tamilnadu has also abolished purchase tax on Jatropha.

Rajasthan

Jatropha is ideally suited for cultivation in Rajasthan as it needs very little water which is scarce in Rajasthan. Jatropa plantations have been undertaken in Udaipur, Kota, Sikar, Banswara, Chittor and Churu districts. In the Udaipur district, Jatropha curcas is planted in agroforestry formats with food or cash crops on marginal lands (in India often called waste lands). As its leaves are toxic and therefore non-palatable to livestock, they remain intact in their sapling stage, unlike most other tree saplings.

Maharashtra

In September 2007, the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) joined hands with the Maharashtra State Farming Corporation Ltd (MSFCL) for a jatropha seed-based bio-diesel venture. As part of the project, a jatropha plant would be grown on 500 acres (2 km²) in Nashik and Aurangabad. In November 2005, the Maharashtra Government aimed to cultivate jatropha on 600 km² in the state, with half the land going to the public sector and the other half to the private sector. On July 1 2006, Pune Municipal Corporation took the lead among Indian cities in using bio-diesel from jatropha in over 100 public buses.

Ahmednagar

Gulabrao Kale studied the prospects of plantation in the Ahmednagar district and under his guidance, Govind Gramin Vikas Pratishthan (GOGVIP), decided to plan under DPAP program of government. Initially, it was a very difficult task to make farmers ready for the Jatropha plantation. When 20-25 farmers were offered the plan, only 2-3 farmers were convinced to plan jatropha. Lack of literacy was a big hindrance in convincing the farmers. It was hard to convince them about the future benefits of the plant and its potential to produce bio-diesel, an equivalent of diesel. But after untiring and continuous efforts more than 1000 farmers are working with the GOGVIP for the Jatropha planting program now. For this task, under the watershed development program, GOGVIP took an area of 10.92 square kilometres for making CCT’S. To date, more than 2 million Jatropha plants have been planted in the target area of the five villages of Vankute, Dhoki, Dhotre, Dhavalpuri and Gajdipoor in the project. The villages are in the remote locations and that made connecting them with GOGVIP a difficult task.

Practices

The Project on Development of Agronomic practices for Jatropha curcas is being implemented, with the financial assistance of DBT, New Delhi. Dr. Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth, Akola (MS) India has Planted Jatropha on 3 square kilometres, with the financial assistance of National Oilseeds and Vegetable oils development Board.

See also

References

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