Friday, June 24, 2005

Freeing India of Oil Imports

After the post based on Friedman's article on reducing American dependence on imported petroleum, here is one on reducing Indian dependence on imported oil and gas altogether.

This was written by Arun Firodia, Chairman of the Kinetic Group, and was published last December. The article envisions an energy independent future for India based on methane gas from cow dung (from our 250 million cows), and bio-diesel from massive Jatropha plantations.

Weight-wise methane gas matches the calorific value of petrol, LPG or kerosene, and an average cow in India can produce enough dung to produce 225 litres of methane gas in a year.

Replacing LPG and kerosene

Estimating a per capita annual LPG and kerosene consumption of 15 kg each, for the urban and rural populations, just 75 million cows would produce enough methane (16.8 billion litres) to meet the LPG and kerosene requirements of 1 billion Indians (15 billion litres).

Replacing Petrol

40 million cows can produce enough methane to easily replace the 8 million tonnes of petrol India consumed in the year 2003-2004. Like CNG, methane can easily replace petrol in automobiles.

What about Diesel?

Jatropha! on just 15 million of our 25 million hectares of waste or fallow land, will produce at least as much bio-diesel as India's annual consumption of diesel.

All figures are from the original article. Though the figures seem exhaustive, and the article also gives more insights into the production of methane gas (or gobar gas) there isnt enough dwelling on the costing factors, which at least in the case of bio-diesel is still critical. The point being made is very valid. Imagine the potential for a country like New Zealand which has far more lifestock than human beings!

Update: Indra had posted on this article some time back. Some useful comments are available on his site.