11 April 2005

“India: Anand university shows way for more fuel from jatropha

In the nation-wide drive to generate bio-diesel from jatropha seeds, Anand Agricultural University has come forward to chip in its contribution to the project.

Being roped in by the Gujarat government as a partner for technology development in the project, the alma mater has recently developed a processing technology which, it claims, is capable of extracting more oil from less seed and thus offering more jatropha seed oil for conversion into bio-diesel.

The university which has been shortlisted by the Gujarat government a year ago to develop a cost-effective technology for extraction of oil from jatropha seeds and conversion of the oil into bio-diesel for blending it with diesel, has entrusted the task to its faculty of food processing and bio-energy.

Backed by a fund support of Rs 20 lakh from the Planning Commission for this purpose, the faculty has recently designed and fabricated a processing plant at a cost of Rs 10 lakh. “The plant is capable of extracting one kg of oil from 3.5 kg of jatropha seed against the common practice of producing the oil from 5 kg of the seed,” DC Joshi, dean of the faculty, told ET.

Apart from Ananad Agriculture University, there are some more research institutes which have also developed technologies for processing bio-diesel from a number of agricultural seeds, including that of jatropha.

However, the faculty claims that it has developed a unique oil extraction technology. “This is because the plant it has developed is capable of de-hulling and pulverisation of the seed and later steam cooking the oil on a continuous basis, leading to oil recovery up to 85%. While other technologies available at present, using the transesterification route, offers less recovery,” Mr Joshi said.

Sources in the South-Eastern railways said if the faculty’s claim comes true, it will be good for the country given shortages of jatropha seeds against a huge demand for bio-diesel. The railways is keen for the development and application of such a cost-effective seed processing technology as it also has initiated steps to produce bio-diesel.

Meanwhile, Sardar Patel Renewable Energy Research Institute, near Anand, which has tested the bio-diesel, produced by AAU, opines that if 20% of that bio-diesel is blended with diesel, the blended fuel can be used to run automobiles and pump sets without changing their existing engines.

The Gujarat government, apart from AAU, has roped in its forest department, Central Salt & Marine Chemicals Research Institute and Sardar Patel University for the cultivation and propagation of jatropha seeds in the state.

(Vgl. Meldung vom 2005-03-08.)

Source: Economic Times April 10, 2005.

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