Bio Fuel as an Alternative fuel - An analysis
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Bio Fuels as Alternative fuels-An analysis
The progress of any nation depends on the development of transportation facility. We all know the importance of petrol and diesel fuels. India is the chief importer of petroleum fuels from gulf countries.
According to the statistics, only 20 percent of fuels that are used in India are extracted in India. Everything else is imported. There is direct implication of changes of fuel price in gulf countries on the economy of India. The increase in price of all fuels leads to increase in transportation costs and the same is reflected in commodity prices ranging from simple coffee to Flight tickets. The fast depletion of resources is alarming for the nation forcing engineers and scientist to work on alternative fuel.
Using battery operated cars like Mahindra Reva etc are a good development in this regard. However it has the drawback of being of too costly and limited mileage. The present situation compels us to derive and work on alternate sources of fuel to fossil fuels.
Earlier we had published an article on Alcohol as an alternative fuel. In this article we shall focus on the developments in Bio fuel production in India.
Jetropha as Green fuel
The oil extracted from seeds of plants like Jetropha curcas and processed into bio-diesel could be blended with petroleum diesel. Jetropha curcas is a quick maturing plant species that starts bearing fruits within a year of its planting and following the extraction and trans-esterification the oil can be blended with petroleum diesel for use. It grows in a wide variety of agro-climatic conditions from arid (200 mm of rainfall) to high rainfall areas and on lands with thin soil cover to good lands.
It is not browsed by cattle and so its plantation can be easily under-taken in fields and their boundaries, under-stocked forests, public lands and denuded lands facing increasing degradation.
Its plantation, seed collection, oil extraction etc. will create employment opportunities for a large number of people, particularly the tribal and the poor, and will help rehabilitate unproductive and wastelands and save precious foreign exchange by substituting imported crude. The chemical analysis of Jetropha oil reveals that its acid value is 38.20, saponification is 195.20 Viscosity is 31. It's comparison with Diesel is as follows;
|Specific Gravity||0.9186||0.82 -0.84|
|Carbon Residue||0.06%||Less than 0.12%|
|Calorific Value||9.470K Cal/Kg||10.170K Cal/Kg|
Based on the above-mentioned chemical analysis data, Jetropha oil is one of the most suitable clean fuels. Other sources of clean fuels are Tung, Mahua, Poongamia-Pinnatta, rubber etc. The gestation period of these plants are higher than Jetropha ultimately making them non viable. Due to these facts, major emphasis has been given to Jetropha cultivation as a major source of clean fuel. Its higher flash point helps for its easier transportation while no traces of CO and minimum traces of CO2 make it 100% eco-friendly fuel.
Jetropha curcas -Source of Bio-diesel
There are many tree species which bear rich oil. Of these some promising tree species have been evaluated and it has been found that there are a number of them such as Jetropha curcas and Pongamia Pinnata (‘Honge’ or ‘Karanja’) which would be very suitable in our conditions. However Jetropha curcas has been found to be the most suitable tree species for the reasons as below.
1) It can be grown even in adverse land situations viz. degraded and barren land under forest and non-forest use, dry and drought prone areas, marginal lands and as agro-forestry crop. It can be planted on fallow lands and long farmers field boundaries as hedge because it does not grow too tall as well as on vacant fields alongside railways, highways, irrigation canals and unused lands in townships etc. The seeds of Jetropha are available during non-rainy seasons, which facilitate better collection and processing. The cost of plantation is largely incurred in the first year and improved planting material can make a huge difference in yield.
2) It has multiple uses and after the extraction of oil from seeds, the oil cake left behind is excellent organic manure, the bio mass of Jetropha curcas enriches the soil.
3) Jetropha adds to capital stock of the farmers and community, for sustainable generation of income and employment.
Extracts from Interview with an eminent personality in State Bio Fuel Development Board justifies how Bio Fuel is the need of the day.
Question: Does the project of Bio fuel production have enough potential to meet growing requirements of the nation?
Answer: Yes for sure. India is currently importing 70 to 80 Million tons of raw petroleum. The demand is there for up to 130 Million Tons. Out of the total area of India which is 380 Million Hectares around 180-190 Million Hectares is being used for agriculture. The remaining 200 Million hectares is being used for non agricultural activity. Even if we make use of half the land i.e. 100 Million Hectares for bio fuel plantations then we can get around 100Million Tons of oil at the rate of one tone per Hectare.
Question: How is it possible to carry out such projects?
Answer: Considering resources available in rural areas, we can generate employment by encouraging the people to grow bio fuel plants. It’s like encouraging people for dairy products by giving subsidy.
Question: The projects seem to be rural centered. Would it be useful to city people?
Answer: The facility for production of Bio fuels is available in rural areas only. For producing Ethanol we need to grow Sugarcane. All agricultural lands belong to farmers only even the related industries like pesticides, fertilizers, bio gas etc are also for rural areas only. The bio fuels could first be used to satisfy needs of rural areas and later on can be tried for urban areas.
Limitations of Bio fuels
Though it looks very simple in mentioning Bio fuels as best alternative fuels, it has many limitations to overcome some of them could be mentioned as below:
1) In general, even a slight mix of other oil with diesel will lead to improper combustion .The whole engine would have to be overhauled depending upon severity of problem. However with suitable modifications, it is possible to run the engine. The proper blending of bio fuel with diesel is a complicated issue and needs lots of efforts.
2) The huge area of land required, water supply to such land etc leads to multiple of problems like land acquisition, water supply projects etc which needs thousands of crores of investment.
3) Though it is being implemented for some of the state govt. run buses, it is yet to be made successful for regular usage of all vehicles.
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Real brain power on dsipaly. Thanks for that answer!October 13, 2012 by Trixie
i think mercediz compny using this bio fuelSeptember 30, 2012 by Aman
Good to hear regarding bio fuel and expected to see the results very soon.September 25, 2012 by Suresh
agar bharatiya kisan bio fuel ki kheti jada karega to des me khadya saankat aaj nehi to kal dekhae dega q ki log jada jatropa kheti karenge our dusri fasal ugaj kam karenge.September 24, 2012 by Ranbir
I will welcome a research on safe "thorium fuel" which is far far safer than other Nuclear Fuels. Thorium is so much in abundant in Nature. Just 8Grm of Thorium can fuel a SUV for 20Years... Isnt that Enough? Yes, Still as thorium needs a BIGGER engine, its not viable for cars. atleast we can expect that in Train, Subs, Airplanes, Rockets and even in Powerstations. One Reason why Govt is not interested in "Thorium" fuel research is, They cant produce WMD using "thorium"September 24, 2012 by David Jeba
SIR,I AM FROM MAHARASHTRA.I AM INTERESTED IN COMMERCIAL CULTIVATION OF JATROPHA.COULD YOU PLEASE GUIDE ME REGARDING THE SOIL QUALITY , ATMOSPHERE , WATER REQUIREMENT ETC FOR THIS CROP? I AM NOT LOOKING AT MAKING IMMEDIATE PROFIT & CAN WAIT A FEW YEARS.ALSO PLEASE LET ME KNOW HOW JATROPHA SEEDS CAN BE STORED TO RAISE A SIZEABLE STOCK & STATR ACTUAL EXTRACTION AFTER A FEW YEARS ? I WOULD BE GRATEFUL TO YOU IF YOU COULD GUIDE ME. YOU MAY ALSO SUGGEST ANY REFERENCE MATERIAL , WEBSITES , GOVT. & PRIVATE AGENCIES FOR FURTHER KNOWLEDGE.September 24, 2012 by SHESHNATH
YES, OUR ITLALIAN SORRY INDIAN GOVERNMENT ENCOURAGED FDI ONLY. DISCOURAGED INDIA & INDIAN'S IDEA.September 23, 2012 by SARAVANAN
The Limitations shall overcome by Indian Automotive Engineering if given with proper R & D infrastructure. Given the present fuel price hike and essential commodity price hike, our government may need to immediately introduce a dedicated department for alternative fuels.(We have done this as Engineering final year project during 2006 in MIT).September 23, 2012 by Raj
Very good article.Interested one's can go through this documentary on bio fuels...http://www.youtube.com/movie?v=v3CBOdgBlk8&feature=mv_srSeptember 23, 2012 by Kiran Bhagwat
I have gone through the entire article ,but the indian Farmers are not having any faith on indian Govt . Since the price TAG is not appreciatableSeptember 23, 2012 by Sowman
With little experience in producing and using of bio-diesel as blending with HSD up to 10% I am taking the liberty of making following comments:Even crude oil produced from Jetropha seeds can be used for blending purpose, where as the crude oil refined to bio-diesel is by itself is suitable for direct usage. The yield primarily depends on the fat content of the seeds, the conservative estimate reveals that 4 kg of jetropha seeds are required for producing 1 liter of bio diesel and the present rate of seeds is @rs 16/kg in major producing state, the seeds cost for 1 liter is around Rs 64. Jetropha can become useful as alternate only if the mass production is encouraged and the cost of the seeds is less than rs.8/kg. The other costs can be taken care of by the revenue from the filtered cake and other by products like glycerin, industrial soap etc.Impact on the health of the drivers is required to be studied in depth as the jetropha seeds are not eaten by the animals and bio-diesel from jetropha seeds gives some pungent smell.September 23, 2012 by Jsantharam
This was exactly developed and named as RAMAR PETROL from a small village in TamilNadu. No government encouraged his ideas, rather discouraged him and poor gentleman Ramar is hiding himself.September 23, 2012 by Sabarinath
Very good alternate for petrolium product. Govt has to look after this....September 23, 2012 by Rathna Kumar
Kudos to Car Trade for highlighting the importance of bio diesel.More often than not,the USA inspired hype is about ethanol from corn.Emotional statements like "a SUV tankful of ethanol bio fuel needs so much of corn that can feed a poor Indian family for a year."...or,"palmolein used as bio fuel is degrading the environment in Indonesia"Jatropha is the way to go!China is planting 13 million hectares of semi arid land with Jatropha.Readers may get in touch with Dr Rana Pratap Reddy of Reva Institute of Technology,Bangalore.He has done pioneering work.UAS/Bangalore is also working on bio diesel.Indian Railways have a few locomotives running on bio diesel for the last nine years.Jatropha should be cultivated under the rural employment guarantee scheme.September 23, 2012 by V.Anand
It will be a great boost to Indian economy if Bio fuel is developed fast thus reducing import of crude in view of slugges economy Gunvant lal Vyas from MelbourneSeptember 23, 2012 by Gunvantlal Vyas
It is great idea because in near future we have to search an alternative of petroleum and diesel products. Because if we produce more bio. Diesel than we don't have to import more crude oil and by doing we can save lots of foreign exchange. Due to this economy becomes stronger and we spend that money on other projects. If this somebody is going to work on this project please involve me also. I can help him in providing jetropha seeds.September 23, 2012 by RAVI Panwar
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