Production of biofuels not enough


Despite there being 32 biofuel development centres in Karnataka, the state is falling behind mark in producing biofuel.

By Shalu Chowrasia,
Bengaluru, November 20, 2019

The state is not producing enough quantity of biofuel, even though there are 32 biofuel units of 100 litres each, Mr Chikkana, the representation of the Karnataka State Bioenergy Development Board stated (KSBDB).

He pointed out that the collection of raw material for producing biofuels is the issue. “Only if we get enough supply of raw materials at the centres can move towards renewable sources of energy.”

KSBDB organized an awareness camp at the Bangalore Tech Summit 2019 to promote biofuels.

At the development centres, the collected seeds are collected, crushed, oil and fats separated and biofuel is generated. The cake is also used as a bio-manure.

The state has over 120 different species of plants that yield oil in the range of 20 -70 percent in their seeds but the production is limited.

National policy on biofuels was passed in 2018 to reduce import dependency of crude oils and increase employment generation. Karnataka state policy on biofuels, 2009 aimed to achieve 10 percent biodiesel with petroleum by the end of 2017 but it is still five percent, said Mr. Chikkana.

“Farmers used to sell Pongamia seeds for Rs. 2 per kg a few years ago but when research showed that they we can extract biofuels from the seeds, we encouraged the farmers. Now the price of the seeds is about Rs. 30 per kg,” Mr. Chikkana from KSBDB added.

FSSAI reports say that India is one of the largest consumers of vegetable oil, and has the potential to recover 220 crore litres of Used Cooking Oil (UCO) for the production of biodiesel by 2022, through coordinated action.

Ashish Kumar, resident of KR Puram, says “I have heard of biofuel but I don’t know how efficient it is. If it is available at a cheaper cost, I would prefer buying that instead of petroleum.”

Manager of KSBDB, GN Dayanand told The Softcopy that in 2011-12 BMTC and KRSCTC saved Rs. 1, 40, 00,000 by using biofuels.

Reports say that KSBDB is waiting for the government’s nod for blending biodiesel in fuel stations, so that it is stored appropriately and made available for vehicles as biodiesel.

Environmentalist Sandeep Aniruddhan said that biofuels are only sustainable if we manage to produce enough raw materials without cutting on agricultural repositories. “Using UCO as a raw material is the best option we have. Awareness drive towards renewable energy resources like biofuel and biogas are very important,” he added.