|At the conference.|
In a speech today to the Biodiesel Conference Towards Energy Independence, Indian President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam called for a national goal of producing 60 million tonnes of biodiesel (about 18 billion gallons US) per year by 2030. India currently consumes about 120 million tonnes of oil per year, 90% of that for transportation.
In his Independence Day address last year, the President called for energy independence by 2030 to be the country’s “first and highest priority.” (Earlier post.)
Transportation is India’s fastest-growing energy consumer. The country produces only 25% of its total requirement, and now faces an oil import bill of more than US$25 billion.
The President called for utilizing India’s wastelands for the planting of jatropha and other biodiesel crops, and asked for a short-term goal of 6 million tonnes of production by 2010, with improvements to 30 million tonnes by 2020, and then 60 million tonnes by 2030. As India has nearly 60 million hectares of wasteland, about 30 million hectares could be made available for energy plantations with an aim to produce a minimum of 2 tonnes of biodiesel per year per hectare, he said.
He outlined 11 issues or requirements that would need to be resolved or in place to be able to achieve the 60-million tonne goal:
Standardized, quality, high-yielding variety hybrid seeds—obtained through intensive R&D effort—suitable for the various agro-climatic conditions in the country.
Making land (wasteland, forestland, dryland, and semi-arid land—both private and public—available with minimum irrigation required for improving the yield and watershed management.
Bringing small farmers together into a cooperative venture or society.
Financial support from banks and venture capitalists for biodiesel entrepreneurs.
Inter-cropping and value-added byproducts for increasing the revenue to the farmers.
Public–private partnerships and contract farming with farmers and self-help groups.
Decentralizing the supply of bio-diesel to reduce the transportation cost. R&D for modular plants with various tonnages and maximum extraction and esterification efficiency.
Identification of agencies for processing Jatropha Seeds without any ambiguity and identification of professional bodies for extraction, esterification and blending.
Initiatives by vehicle manufactures in incorporating appropriate modifications and redesign for using different levels of blending for optimal performance and ultimately leading to 100% biodiesel vehicle.
Academic institutions, particularly agricultural Universities of different states, to support and public and private enterprises with research ranging from seed to esterification.
A clear role for the Central and State governments and district authorities in promoting and facilitating the total chain of biofuel tasks.
Biodiesel is one area which can transform the scenario in the oil sector. With the limited experience of Biodiesel in the country and elsewhere, we can understand its potential and also problems associated with it. With the concerted effort in R&D both in production and processing, facilitation by government, large scale initiative from the private sector and self-help groups, hassle free financial support from financial institutions, I am sure we should be able to realize the target of achieving 60 Million tonnes per year of bio-diesel production by the year 2030.