Showing posts with label Bio-diesel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bio-diesel. Show all posts

Thursday, February 08, 2007

India Bio-diesel Update

Monthly update on the bio-diesel scene in India

Mahindra and Mahindra, one of the giants of automobile manufacturing in India, has unveiled 100% bio-diesel versions of its Scorpio and Bolero SUVs for "real world usage trials". They also unveiled a 5% bio-diesel tractor.

Unlike with gasoline/ethanol, there is no concept of flex-fuel cars in the diesel/bio-diesel landscape. So automobiles will move gradually from 100:0 (bio-diesel:diesel) to 98:2 to 95:5 and so on. The Indian Railways currently runs some trains at 95:5, and has big plans for bio-diesel, including involving farmers to grow Jatropha on 40,000 hectares of wasteland.

Idea Cellular wants to use bio-diesel to power it base stations in villages that are outside of the electricity grid. Most likely this will be for villages that that erratic grid supply, rather than no grid supply at all (otherwise there might be no market if people cannot charge their cell phones in the first place.) But this would likely put Idea in a strong position to sell their cellular services in villages that will get electricity as part of the Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyutikaran Yojana of the Rural Electrification Corporation. A lot of these villages will get power from a combination of different sources like biomass gasifiers, bio-gas-based generators and solar panels. Importantly these may remain cut-off from the grid. The very fact that Idea is looking at these customers as a potential market goes to show the confidence it has in the Government programs.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Chhattisgarh going big on Jatropha

The Chhattisgarh government has before proved itself among the foremost proponents of the Jatropha revolution in India. The Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, Raman Singh is already the first head of an Indian state to start using bio-diesel to power his official car, a Tata Safari. That was back in May, when the aim was to run all official vehicles on bio-diesel in three months, and make the state self-reliant in bio-diesel in ten years. (I know the three months are up, but dont know the scores yet)

Doesnt matter. They are doing something better now. They are offering fantastic initiatives to corporates and individuals to cultivate Jatropha in the state. Land disputes? No problem. No capital? No problem. "Under the Government scheme, an individual can lease up to 200 hectares of land at a price of Rs 100 per hectare, per year for the first five years. For subsequent years, these rates could be increased." The government will provide a total of 200,000 hectares of land for this purpose.

Not sure what the incentives for corporates is but companies like Indian Oil Corporation, IFFCO, ONGC and Emami, are making a beeline to the state to get into jatropha farming. As per the government estimates, at Rs 5 per kg of seed, jatropha biodiesel will cost Rs 20 a litre - which is comparable to the price of diesel at $45 per barrel of petroleum. With appropriate duty concession, biodiesel will compete against a $35 barrel too.

Among other figures thrown up were:
"plantation of jatropha in farm bunds; wasteland and fallow land of the State will generate extra income of about Rs 2,000 crore for the villagers by 2010."
"A target of planting eight crore jatropha saplings in State nurseries has already been met this year. We plan to distribute 16 crore saplings next year"

P.S.: Thanks to Sanjay for pointing me to this news item.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Relying on Jatropha

One of the biggest names in Indian corporate history is throwing its weight behind a Jatropha-based future for India motor fuels. Of course it is not abandoning its highly lucrative oil business yet, but the boost the bio-diesel industry will get from this show of support will be substantial, while the bottom line of the company itself will definitely be better off from the effort.

Recently Saudi Arabia, despite being the biggest oil producer in the world, announced a major bio-diesel initiative. Of course the reason given was "waste water usage" and "greening the desert", and not merely creating fuel.

India's biggest private sector name in the oil industry, Reliance Industries is now launching a major initiative to grow jatropha at Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh. Though the pilot is likely to be on 200 acres of land, it should grow to thousands of acres if all goes well. Going by Reliance's track record in India, it would be a wonder if all does not go well - which is great news for the alternate fuel industry.

The initiative will be spearheaded by Reliance Life Sciences, a subsidiary of RIL, while the Bhavnagar-based Central Salt & Marine Chemicals Research Institute will provide the know-how on crop and fuel extraction technology.

* A jatropha seed contains 31 to 37 per cent extractable oil
* A plantation of 100,000 hectares of jatropha is expected to yield 250,000-300,000 tonnes of crude jatropha oil per annum
* The initial 100,000 hectare jatropha farm may yield revenues of $100 mn a year
Among other things Reliance's interest is seen as a vindication for the profitability of the bio-diesel industry.