Could biodiesel solve rural India's job woes?

Discussion in 'Foreign Relations' started by LETHALFORCE, May 9, 2009.

  1. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Could biodiesel solve rural India's job woes? | Cleantech Group

    Could biodiesel solve rural India's job woes?
    May 6, 2009 -

    Orissa government plans massive project to use jatropha plantations to guarantee rural jobs.

    The government of the Indian state of Orissa is preparing a master plan to use jatropha plantations to secure jobs for its rural areas.

    The proposal has gained renewed backing in recent months as refiners have begun to extract oil from the seeds of jatropha plants to be used in biodiesel. India accounts for about two-thirds of the world’s jatropha plantations.

    Jatropha seeds can yield up to 40 percent oil and produce about 60 to 70 U.S. gallons of oil per acre. Estimates are that jatropha oil yields are 10 times that of corn, but that production hasn’t been realized on a commercial scale (see Indian group plans farm of 5B jatropha trees).

    The National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme's Panchayati Raj Department is now working to issue instructions and plans to local districts, reports Indian publication Express Buzz.

    The government has not yet determined whether it can claim private land for the jatropha plantations. A government land grab of private land led to riots that closed a factory intended for Tata Motors' Nano vehicle last year (see Tata Motors moves Indian Nano plant).

    Plans to develop 1,500 hectares of jatropha plantations in 2007-08 failed to materialize because of the difficulty in securing project financing (see Record 2008 for cleantech with $8.4B in investments). The government approved the Rs 5 crore ($1 million) proposal by the Science and Technology Department for jatropha plantation and bio-diesel production in the Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput (KBK) region, which is one of the poorest in India.

    Companies such as Mumbai-based Bharat Renewable Energy and the government-owned Hindustan Petroleum have already planted more than a million acres of jatropha to provide a million metric tons of biodiesel by 2015 (see $480M Indian refinery signals jatropha shift?).
     
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  3. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Jatropha cultivation under NREGS planned


    Jatropha cultivation under NREGS planned


    Express News Service
    First Published : 05 May 2009 03:13:00 AM IST
    Last Updated : 05 May 2009 12:01:51 PM IST

    BHUBANESWAR: As the oil from the jatropha seeds is now used for making biodiesel, the State Government has decided to take up jatropha plantation on a massive scale under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS).

    The Panchayati Raj Department, the nodal agency for implementation of the NREGS, has been asked to prepare an action plan on jatropha plantation in consultation with the Science and Technology Department and issue necessary instructions to the district rural development agencies (DRDAs) for chalking out districtlevel plans. Whether jatropha plantation can be taken up in private land under NREGS will be known once modalities of the programme are finalised, said a senior Government officer.

    Though Government had approved Rs 5 crore proposal of the Science and Technology Department for jatropha plantation and bio-diesel production in KBK region, the project is yet to take off.

    The Government had targeted a plantation over 1,500 hectares during 2007-08. However, the programme did not materialise due to lack of response from commercial financial institutions. Commercial banks are still not forthcoming to finance jatropha cultivation as they consider the project not economically viable, official sources said.

    Chief Secretary Ajit Kumar Tripathy who reviewed the physical and financial progress of various anti-poverty schemes, including NREGS, here on Friday asked the Panchayati Raj Department to submit a plan on the renewable fuel programme.

    The department is sceptic on the inclusion of jatropha plantation under NREGS for a number of reasons. The Government has to prepare a detailed plan of action for the post-plantation like ownership and maintenance of the crop, processing of seeds and preparation of bio-fuel, the sources said.
     
  4. nitesh

    nitesh Mob Control Manager Stars and Ambassadors

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    In our state (C.G.) lot of work is in progress in this regard. Government is giving money and land as well as training to rural youths for cultivation and also guarentting to buy the seeds so that the oil can be extracted. yes it will go in long way in solving the issues.
     
  5. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    the yield is 10 times that of corn the biodiesel (and soybean)used in USA, the potential is tremendous
     
  6. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    Biodiesel was great until it dawned upon governments that farmers were replacing staples like wheat and rice with biodiesel, thus causing massive food shortages and inflation, and in some cases food riots.
     
  7. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    this plant may possibly be able to be planted in arid areas where other crops may not grow?
     
  8. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Jatropha Plant Profile

    JATROPHA – PLANT PROFILE

    INTRODUCTION

    Jatropha belongs to the family Euphorbiaceae. The word Jatropha is derived from two Greek words ‘Jatros’ meaning doctor and ‘trophe’, which means nutrition. It grows wild in tropical and sub-tropical climatic regions and can be successfully grown in problematic soils and arid regions. Jatropha curcas is a drought-resistant perennial shrub or a small tree. It is easy to establish and grows fast. It is found to be growing in many parts of the country, rugged in nature it can survive with minimum inputs and is easy to propagate. A good crop can be obtained with little effort. The tree has a productive life of more than 50 years.

    Jatropha produces seeds with oil content of about 33 to 35%. The oil can be combusted as fuel without being refined. It burns with clear smoke-free flame. The oil has been tested successfully as fuel for simple diesel engines. The by-products are press cake which is a good organic fertilizer. Oil also contains insecticidal properties.

    Medically it is used for treatment of a number of diseases like cancer, piles, snakebite, paralysis, dropsy etc. The plant finds a mention in Ayurveda.

    Depending on soil quality and rainfall, oil can be extracted from the Jatropha nuts after two to five years. The annual nut yield ranges from 0.5 to 12 tons. The kernels consist of oil to about 60 percent of which about 35% is extractable by normal methods; this can be transformed into Biodiesel fuel through esterification process.

    Distribution and habitat

    It is believed that the plant originated from Mexico and Central America. It has been introduced to Africa and Asia and is now cultivated worldwide. This highly drought-resistant species is adapted to arid and semi-arid conditions. The current distribution shows that introduction has been most successful in the drier regions of the tropics with annual rainfall of 300-1000 mm. It occurs mainly at lower altitudes (0-500 m) in areas with average annual temperatures well above 20°C but can grow at higher altitudes and tolerates slight frost. It grows on well-drained soils with good aeration and is well adapted to marginal soils with low nutrient content.

    Botanical Features

    It is a small tree or shrub with smooth grayish-green bark, which exudes a whitish colored watery latex when cut. Normally, it grows between three and five meters in height, but can attain a height of up to eight or ten meters under favourable conditions.

    Leaves

    It has large green to pale-green leaves, alternate to sub-opposite, three-to five-lobed with a spiral phyllotaxis. These are used against scabies, paralysis, rheumatism and tumours. The leaf juice is used externally for piles and for applying to control inflammation of the tongue in babies.

    Flowers

    The petiole length ranges between 6-23 mm. The inflorescence is formed in the leaf axil. Flowers are formed terminally, individually, with female flowers usually slightly larger and occur in the hot seasons. In conditions where continuous growth occurs, an unbalance of pistillate or staminate flower production results in a higher number of female flowers.

    Fruits

    Fruits are produced all through the year and multiple fruiting is seen in many geographical areas during one year on the same tree if soil moisture is good and temperatures are sufficiently high. Each inflorescence yields a bunch of approximately 10 or more fruits. A three, bi-valved cocci is formed after the seeds mature and the fleshy exocarp dries. It is seen that the fruits do not drop off on their own providing sufficient opportunity to harvest them without any wastage.

    Seeds

    The seeds become mature when the capsule changes from green to yellow, after remaining two to four months on the tree.

    Flowering and fruiting habit

    The trees are deciduous, shedding the leaves in the dry season. Flowering occurs during the wet season and two flowering peaks are often seen. In permanently humid regions, flowering occurs throughout the year. The seeds mature in about three months after flowering. Early growth is fast and with good rainfall conditions nursery plants may bear fruits after the first rainy season, direct sown plants after the second rainy season. The flowers are pollinated by insects especially honey bees.

    Ecological Requirements

    Jatropha curcas grows almost anywhere, even on gravelly, sandy and saline soils. It can thrive on the poorest stony soil. It can grow even in the crevices of rocks. The leaves shed during the winter months form mulch around the base of the plant. The organic matter from shed leaves enhances earthworm activity in the soil around the root-zone of the plants, which improves the fertility of the soil.

    Regarding climate, Jatropha curcas is found in the tropics and subtropics and likes heat, although it does well even in lower temperatures and can withstand a light frost. Its water requirement is extremely low and it can withstand long periods of drought by shedding most of its leaves to reduce transpiration loss. Jatropha is also suitable for preventing soil erosion and shifting of sand dunes. It is being planted on sea beaches in some south east Asian countries to hold soil and to serve as effective wind breaks. Similar use is also on denuded hilly areas to prevent soil erosion.

    Biophysical limits

    Altitude: 0-500 m,

    Mean annual temperature: 20-28 deg. C,

    Mean annual rainfall: 300-1000 mm or more.
    Soil type: Grows on well drained soils with good aeration and is well adapted to marginal soils with low nutrient content. On heavy soils, root formation is reduced. Jatropha is a highly adaptable species, but its strength as a crop comes from its ability to grow on very poor and dry sites.
     
  9. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    Well, then it seems viable in arid regions or wastelands. That's good, and I guess that's why its being encouraged.

    Perhaps we'll have to wait till oil prices reach a new high before it becomes commercially viable.
     
  10. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    Jatropha is very suitable for Bio diesel, I think for more information this link can be suitable:

    http://www.jatrophabiodiesel.org/

    A very timely needed Article LF Sir.

    Regards
     
  11. Pintu

    Pintu New Member

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    An image of Jatropha Multifida ( Image: Wikipedia)

    [​IMG]

    Regards
     
  12. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Jatropha tree examined as a biofuel alternative

    The Associated Press: Jatropha tree examined as a biofuel alternative


    Jatropha tree examined as a biofuel alternative


    By HILARY LEHMAN – 1 day ago
    FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — What some see as the biofuel of the future starts out as short, thick stems with a few leaves sticking out at sharp angles. But in just a few years, they will be tall, leafy trees with bright green spherical pods spilling their seeds all over the ground.
    The jatropha tree doesn't have the name recognition or lobbying clout of corn-based ethanol, but the energy industry is increasingly spending development dollars and examining it as a potentially better biofuel source: It is easier to grow than corn, untied to the food market and free from any carbon dioxide or sulfur emissions.
    Biodiesel from jatropha has powered test flights on Air New Zealand and Continental Airlines. It has prompted oil giant BP PLC to partner on jatropha projects in India and Africa.
    And here on Florida's Gulf Coast, one jatropha company believes in the trees with such fervor that it calls them the eventual solution to the country's oil problems. But skeptics consider that hyperbole, saying there are still too many questions.
    "Jatropha is a perfect crop," said Dave Wolfley, a distribution manager for Fort Myers-based My Dream Fuel. "We have the resources to do away with importing foreign oil."
    The numbers, Wolfley believes, are telling: The trees cost $6 to $7 each, can be grown 400 to an acre, and produce more than two gallons of oil apiece each season at maturity. Still, it would take a farm about the size of Rhode Island to produce a billion gallons — and the U.S. economy uses more than 50 billion gallons of diesel annually.
    My Dream Fuel said it is in negotiations to sell trees to growers in the Big Cypress National Preserve, and environmentalist efforts to reduce cargo ship emissions could open up Florida's maritime market through the Port of Miami. Wolfley even runs his truck on jatropha.
    But the company has had trouble convincing Florida growers of the viability and profitability of its vision. Wolfley said even citrus farmers, who have lost much of their crop to disease and cold, aren't willing to take the risk on something new. Jatropha is a low-maintenance, fast-growing plant that doesn't require much watering, he said.
    "I thought it would be the easiest thing I've ever done," he said.
    The resistance Wolfley faces reflects skepticism within the fuel industry and academia whether jatropha is the savior its growers claim.
    Jennifer Holmgren, general manager of renewable energy and chemicals for energy technology firm UOP, which provided the fuel for the airlines' test flights, said jatropha may be the latest biofuel buzzword, but the energy industry must remain objective and look at multiple fuel sources.
    It's important to find a fuel source that works with the current infrastructure, Holmgren said. For anything, including jatropha, to be widely used, it needs to work in the current pipeline system, which ethanol does not. And jatropha is only usable in diesel engines.
    It will take some time for jatropha to hit the same price point as conventional diesel, UOP spokeswoman Susan Gross said.
    Biofuel today usually costs about 80 percent for the feedstock and about 15 percent for refining, Gross said. Jatropha prices are currently high because of its low supply, but in two or three years with more farms growing it, it could reach the same cost as conventional diesel.
    Jatropha shows promise, Holmgren said, but so do other biofuel sources such as algae.
    "It's not a bad feedstock," she said. "It's just that it's not the answer to all of our prayers."
    So far, jatropha has grown mostly overseas in India and Africa. Sham Goyal, an agronomy scientist at the University of California, Davis, said the plant has "very good potential" but that it would take at least five years to determine its commercial viability in the U.S., especially since jatropha can only grow in warmer climates.
    Roy Beckford, who studies jatropha as a University of Florida researcher, said the plant can yield more oil than soy or corn. But because it is still essentially a wild plant, yields vary widely, making it an unpredictable commercial crop.
    "Not all jatropha is going to perform the same," he said.
    Still, some see dollar signs in jatropha's bright green seeds.
    Teri Gevinson, owner of the Boca Raton real estate development firm Ascot Development, put 9,500 jatropha plants on parcels of Delray Beach land left vacant by pepper and tomato farmers who could no longer afford rent. She hopes to turn her newest venture, Ag-Oil, into a biofuel provider in six to nine months.
    "I think we're going to give farmers a way to make money again," she said.
     
  13. Antimony

    Antimony Regular Member

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    I have the same problem with this as I have for all government initiatives. If this is such a good idea, why not encourage the private sector to chip in? Why do things in India always have to be "government run"?

    I also see some issues purely from an alternative energy viewpoint. This is still creating a polluting source of energy. If government money is going to be spent I would encourage more of that in renewables or clean energy ideas.

    On the plus side, this actually might help generate rural jobs and help with the stupid diesel subdidy thing
     

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