The rapid depletion of petroleum reserves, increasing vehicular emissions and rising costs and concerns for environment have led to intensive search for alternate fuels. As far as our country is concerned the need to search alternative fuels is more urgent, as India is heavily dependent on import of petroleum products to meet the demands of automotive, agricultural, industry and power sectors. Any measure to reduce dependence on petroleum fuels is a welcome step towards nation building.
The Indian Government as well as the State Governments have taken up several measures to promote the alternatives for fossil fuels. One such major initiative taken up by the Government of Karnataka is the establishment of Biofuel Park at Hassan under the supervision of University of Agricultural Sciences, GKVK Bengaluru. The Biofuel Park has started its activities at Madenur, Hassan which is 190 km from Bengaluru. Biofuel Park is supported by Karnataka State Biofuel Development Board from 2010 onwards.
The University of Agricultural Sciences developed a systematic bio fuel program to be complimentary to agriculture. The concept of biofuels was developed for rural energy independence and the strategy adopted to incorporate biofuels in agricultural system is unique. The selection of eligible candidate trees for bio fuel program was given utmost importance as the initial step. The team travelled across the state and identified candidate plus trees of Pongamia, Neem, Jatropha, Mahua, Simarouba and other promising oil bearing trees with high seed yield and oil content. Nurseries of selected candidate trees were raised to provide elite planting material to farmers and institutions. Research activities were initiated in all relevant directions to meet the needs of effective implementation of programs.
The Department of Forestry and Environmental Science, University of Agricultural Sciences, GKVK Bengaluru has developed strategies for a comprehensive plan for bio fuel program for the state. In this regard, rural oriented, multispecies feed stock developments have been initiated and promising biofuel species and clones have been selected. A novel marketing strategy is developed and tested for of bio fuel feed stock and being extended to most parts of the state.
OBJECTIVES OF THE PROGRAMME
- Develop a strategy for successful biofuel program
- Develop and provide technology and model for production of bio fuels across the state
- Motivate farming and other sectors to take lead roles
- Replicate practices and programs to motivate community participation on a large scale
- Adopt appropriate sustainable and paths to achieve the goals
STRATEGIES IMPLEMENTED TO FULFIL THE OBJECTIVES
- Identify different species having potency to be source of biofuel
- Promote the build up of multiple biofuel species resource base across the district and state as this helps in prolonging the supply of feedstock for most parts of the year
- Utilization of marginal, waste lands, bunds, back yards etc for planting diverse biofuel species identified for different areas , without affecting agriculture
- Use of multi species feed stock suitable for oil extraction, transesterification, testing and growing of species suitable for different regions, with focus on growth, seed yield and oil content etc.,
- Promotion of participation of the rural community
- Establishment of market network on the lines of milk producers union
- Value addition at village / panchayath level
- Inter face of the users groups- creation and interaction