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Centre for innovation in biomass feed stock plantation in India

According to reports, at a time when higher prices of petro products are making a hole in the consumers’ pockets, the central government has increased its focus on the renewable energy sources on bio-fuels and bio-diesel.

“The efforts are being made to improve the plantation of feedstock for bio-diesel and bio-fuels. For bio-diesel, efforts are one for bringing improvement in jatropha plantation, while experiments are also being made for pongamia seeds in south India. This will take some time but we are considering all these options for a suitable alternative to conventional sources of energy,” said Deepak Gupta, secretary, ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE).

Current ethanol technology used for bio-fuel generation requires feedstock with high fermentable carbohydrate levels, i.e. corn and sugar, while biodiesel production requires feedstocks with high oil content i.e. pongamia, jatropha and other virgin vegetable oil from oilseed crops.

Speaking on the sidelines of an industry even in Ahmedabad on Wednesday, Gupta informed about government’s focus on the renewable energy sources. “We are focusing on biomass, energy from waste, rural electrification from renewable energy sources, powering telecom towers and higher use of wind energy,” he said adding that there is a potential of over 10,000 Mw of power generation from wind energy.

The industry experts are of the view to reduce dependence on imported oils. India imports about 83 per cent of its crude oil requirements, while fluctuations in international prices of crude oil affects domestic prices too.

Recently, S Jaipal Reddy, minister of petroleum & natural gas informed in the Rajya Sabha that the average price of the Indian Basket of crude oil, which was US $ 69.76 per barrel in 2009-10, increased to US $ 85.09 per barrel during 2010-11. But recently, the average price of the Indian Basket of crude oil has further increased to US $ 111.93 per barrel during 2011-12 (up to 18.8.2011).

Gupta further informed that restrictive policies of other economies would adversely affect domestic energy consumption.

“South Africa has put restrictions on coal exports, while Indonesia has increased prices of the same. So, our higher dependence on imported coal would adversely affect operations of power projects in India,” he added.

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