The compelling case for Pongamia Shelterbelts and the development of Biodiesel Drought and Climate change is presently an important element of energy use and development, and Biodiesel is an important part of the solution. Biodiesel is considered "climate neutral" because all of the carbon dioxide released during consumption had been sequestered out of the atmosphere during crop growth. However, the Biodiesel industry is suffering from high cost and low availability of feedstocks, which form more than 80% of cost of production of Biodiesel. Apart from the high costs, there is also a concern that Biodiesel from edible oils increases the cost of food and scarcity around the world and forests are being cleared to grow them. Even otherwise, it is felt that the Biodiesel crops compete with agriculture for land and water. Using non-edible oils produced by hard trees that are grown in non-agricultural and non-forest lands offers a solution to these issues. In a hungry world, there is a need to produce more food and fuel through low input farming with minimum risks and losses. Value addition at the farm level and reduced share of middlemen would improve farmer’s income. Integrated tree based farming system leads to self sufficiency in rural energy, while maintaining biodiversity and ecological balance. This model is demonstrated at our company, Tree Oils India Ltd (TOIL) farms located nearby Hyderabad and can be replicated all over the world. Pongamia is the future Pongamia, a plant producing non-edible oilseeds, has the potential to become one of the cheapest feedstocks that can be produced in most of the tropical and sub tropical regions of the world. It can tolerate drought, light frost, water logging, moisture stress, salinity and poor soil types. Pongamia is a leguminous tree with a 10 metre tap root capable of sourcing water and nutrients in the sub soil. It has a lifespan of 100 years and has low crop maintenance and harvesting requirements. It thrives in areas having an annual rainfall ranging from 500 to 2500 mm, the maximum temperature ranges from 27 to 38 degrees Celsius and the minimum 1 to 16 degrees Celsius. Mature trees can withstand high temperatures upto 50 degrees Celsius. Way forward for the biodiesel regime Despite all the advantages, Pongamia is still a wild plant, being domesticated and the process taking some time. The existing knowledge and experience of commercial cultivation is limited and few institutes and companies, including mine, have been working on the genetic improvement and agronomic practices. It is still under progress, but biodiesel from Pongamia offers a compelling case to improve the environment, agriculture and economy and shows the way forward. Recently, Daimler tested the use of 100% biodiesel in trial runs of 5,900 km across India, including high altitudes in the Mercedes-Benz C Class C 220 CDI. NTPC and IOC are exploring the possibility of producing Biodiesel and manufacturing specialised lubricants for power plants. Shapoorji Pallonji and Co. Ltd announced plans to cultivate Pongamia in 50,000 hectares and produce biodiesel in Ethiopia. Origin Energy of Australia is planting 180,000 Pongamia trees on 300 hectares to produce biodiesel. Wealth creation through local production Considering the widespread need of fuel alternatives in India, there is a need for the feed stocks being able to be produced locally thereby bringing decentralization of wealth and providing self sufficiency to the region. Biodiesel can be produced locally in rural and remote areas by growing Pongamia trees. A small economically viable processing plant can be set up to be surrounded by about 100,000 trees can be planted in a reasonably small area. Conventional food crops could be grown in between the trees and animals can be raised as they don’t browse the trees. While the fuel requirements of the area are taken care of, the deoiled cake is used as fertiliser. Thus, an integrated, low cost and sustainable tree based farming system can be developed to meet the local production and employment needs. Electricity can be generated using Pongamia oil and it will reduce the transmission costs and losses. Carbon credits from growing the trees, producing Biodiesel and using by products could be icing on the cake by generating additional income.
Pages to are hidden for
"The compelling case of Pongamia Shelterbelts and the development of Biodiesel"Please download to view full document