Jatropha biodiesel in India

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Biofuel development in India centres mainly around the cultivation and processing of Jatropha plant seeds which are very rich in oil (40%). The drivers for this are historic, functional, economic, environmental, moral and political. Jatropha oil has been used in India for several decades as biodiesel for the diesel fuel requirements of remote rural and forest communities; jatropha oil can be used directly after extraction (i.e. without refining) in diesel generators and engines. Jatropha has the potential to provide economic benefits at the local level since under suitable management it has the potential to grow in dry marginal non-agricultural lands, thereby allowing villagers and farmers to leverage non-farm land for income generation. As well, increased Jatropha oil production delivers economic benefits to India on the macroeconomic or national level as it reduces the nation's fossil fuel import bill for diesel production (the main transportation fuel used in the country); minimising the expenditure of India's foreign-currency reserves for fuel allowing India to increase its growing foreign currency reserves (which can be better spent on capital expenditures for industrial inputs and production). And since Jatropha oil is carbon-neutral, large-scale production will improve the country's carbon emissions profile. Finally, since no food producing farmland is required for producing this biofuel (unlike corn or sugar cane ethanol, or palm oil diesel), it is considered the most politically and morally acceptable choice among India's current biofuel options; it has no known negative impact on the production of the massive amounts grains and other vital agriculture goods India produces to meet the food requirements of its massive population (circa 1.1 Billion people as of 2008). Other biofuels which displace food crops from viable agricultural land such as corn ethanol or palm biodiesel have caused serious price increases for basic food grains and edible oils in other countries.

Seeds from the Jatropha curcas plant are used for the production of bio-fuel, a crucial part of India's plan to attain energy sustainability.

India's total biodiesel requirement is projected to grow to 3.6 million tonnes in 2011–12, with the positive performance of the domestic automobile industry. Analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Strategic Analysis of the Indian Biofuels Industry, reveals that the market is an emerging one and has a long way to go before it catches up with global competitors.[1]

The Government is currently implementing an ethanol-blending program and considering initiatives in the form of mandates for biodiesel. Due to these strategies, the rising population, and the growing energy demand from the transport sector, biofuels can be assured of a significant market in India. On 12 September 2008, the Indian Government announced its 'National Biofuel Policy'. It aims to meet 20% of India's diesel demand with fuel derived from plants. That will mean setting aside 140,000 square kilometres of land. Presently fuel yielding plants cover less than 5,000 square kilometres.[1]

Jatropha incentives in India[edit]

Jatropha incentives in India is a part of India's goal to achieve energy independence by the year 2018. Jatropha oil is produced from the seeds of the Jatropha curcas, a plant that can grow in wastelands across India, and the oil is considered to be an excellent source of bio-diesel. India is keen on reducing its dependence on coal and petroleum to meet its increasing energy demand and encouraging Jatropha cultivation is a crucial component of its energy policy. However, in recent times the bio-fuel policy has come under critical review, on the way it has been promoted.[2]

Large plots of waste land have been selected for Jatropha cultivation and will provide much needed employment to the rural poor of India.[3] Businesses are also seeing the planting of Jatropha as a good business opportunity.[4] The Government of India has identified 400,000 square kilometres (98 million acres) of land where Jatropha can be grown, hoping it will replace 20% of India's diesel consumption by 2011.[5] Life-cycle analysis studies have shown favourable energy balance for production of jatropha-based biodiesel in India and also a potential GHG emission saving of 33-42% compared to fossil-based diesel.[6]


A man showing the ‘Jatropa’ plant used in producing Bio-Diesel at Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi on March 14, 2005

The Ex-President of India,Late Dr. Abdul Kalam, is one of the strong advocaters of jatropha cultivation for production of bio-diesel.[7] In his recent speech, the Former President said that out of the 600,000 km² of wasteland that is available in India over 300,000 km² are suitable for Jatropha cultivation. Once this plant is grown the plant has a useful lifespan of several decades. During its life, Jatropha requires very little water when compared to other cash crops.

Recently, the State Bank of India provided a boost to the cultivation of Jatropha in India by signing a Memorandum of Understanding with D1 Mohan, a joint venture of D1 Oils plc, to give loans to the tune of 1.3 billion rupees to local farmers in India. Farmers will also be able to pay back the loan with the money that D1 Mohan pays for the Jatropha seeds.

Indian Railways[edit]

The Indian Railways has started to use the oil (blended with diesel fuel in various ratios) from the Jatropha plant to power its diesel engines with great success. Currently the diesel locomotives that run from Thanjavur to Nagore section and Tiruchirapalli to Lalgudi, Dindigul and Karur sections in Tamil Nadu run on a blend of Jatropha and diesel oil.[8]

Andhra Pradesh[edit]

Andhra Pradesh has entered into a formal agreement with Reliance Industries for Jatropha planting. The company has selected 200 acres (0.81 km2) of land at Kakinada to grow jatropha for high quality bio-diesel fuel.[9] Kerala is planning a massive Jatropha planting campaign.[10]


Chhattisgarh has decided to plant 160 million saplings of jatropha in all its 16 districts during 2006 with the aim of becoming a bio-fuel self-reliant state by 2015.[11] Chhattisgarh plans to earn Rs. 40 billion annually by selling seeds after 2010. The central government has provided Rs. 135 million to Chhattisgarh in 2013 for developing jatropha nursery facilities.

In May 2005, Chief Minister Raman Singh became the first head of a state government to use jatropha diesel for his official vehicle. Chhattisgarh plans to replace with jatropha fuel all state-owned vehicles using diesel and petrol by 2007 . Chhattisgarh Bio-fuel Development Authority now oversees the production of the Jatropha curcas seed as a rich source of bio-diesel.[12] Chhattisgarh government tie up with public sector company Indian oil to produce biodiesel and maintain jatropha plantation in Chhattisgarh name of this company Indian oil CREDA Biofules Ltd. this company is established on 2009 at sankar nagar raipur this company covered all district of Chhattisgarh to plantation of jatropha curcas.


Farmers in semi-arid regions of Karnataka are planting Jatropha as it is well suited to those conditions.[13]
Labland Biodiesel is a Mysore-based Private Limited Company. Since the year 2002, the Company is active in Biodiesel and Jatropha curcas-based Research and Development activities headed by its chairman and managing director, Dr. Sudheer Shetty.Jatropha seeds are used in ksrtc, bmtc ,government buses [14]

Tamil Nadu[edit]

Tamil Nadu is aggressively promoting the plantation of Jatropha to help farmers over come the loss due to irregular rains during the past few years. The government has contracted the development of Jatropha in Tamil Nadu in a large scale to four entrepreneurs. Namely M/s Mohan Breweries and Distilleries Limited. M/s Shiva Distilleries Limited, M/s Dharani Sugars and Chemicals Limited and M/s Riverway Agro Products Private Ltd. Currently the firms have cultivated the plant in about 3 square kilometres as against the goal of 50 km². The government of Tamil Nadu has also abolished purchase tax on Jatropha.[citation needed], but presently government has announced to reduce the 7.5% tolgate charges to 2.5%


Jatropha is ideally suited for cultivation in Rajasthan as it needs very little water which is scarce in Rajasthan. Jatropa plantations have been undertaken in Udaipur, Kota, Sikar, Banswara, Chittor and Churu districts. In the Udaipur district, Jatropha curcas is planted in agroforestry formats with food or cash crops on marginal lands (in India often called waste lands). As its leaves are toxic and therefore non-palatable to livestock, they remain intact in their sapling stage, unlike most other tree saplings.[citation needed] These Jatropha Seeds are very much favourable for the Germination. Udaipur is the major supplier of the Jatropha Seeds especially for the Germination. Many companies and Govt are taking interest to collect best seeds from Udaipur. Bulk Agro (I) Pvt Ltd is the elite of the suppliers.


In September 2007, the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) joined hands with the Maharashtra State Farming Corporation Ltd (MSFCL) for a jatropha seed-based bio-diesel venture. As part of the project, jatropha plants would be grown on 500 acres (2 km²) in Nashik and Aurangabad.[15] In November 2005, the Maharashtra Government aimed to cultivate jatropha on 600 km² in the state, with half the land going to the public sector and the other half to the private sector.[16] On 1 July 2006, Pune Municipal Corporation took the lead among Indian cities in using bio-diesel from jatropha in over 100 public buses.[17]


Gulabrao Kale studied the prospects of plantation in the Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra and under his guidance, Govind Gramin Vikas Pratishthan (GOGVIP), decided to plan under DPAP program of government. Initially, it was a very difficult task to make farmers ready for the Jatropha plantation. When 20–25 farmers were offered the plan, only 2–3 farmers were convinced to plant jatropha. Lack of literacy was a big hindrance in convincing the farmers. It was hard to convince them about the future benefits of the plant and its potential to produce bio-diesel, an equivalent of diesel. But after untiring and continuous efforts more than 1000 farmers are working with the GOGVIP for the Jatropha planting program now. For this task, under the watershed development program, GOGVIP took an area of 10.92 square kilometres for making CCT'S. To date, more than 2 million Jatropha plants have been planted in the target area of the five villages of Vankute, Dhoki, Dhotre, Dhavalpuri and Gajdipoor in the project. The villages are in the remote locations and that made connecting them with GOGVIP a difficult task.[18][19]

Eastern India[edit]

D1 Williamson Magor Bio Fuel Limited was a joint venture company between D1 Oils plc, UK and Williamson Magor group. This biodiesel initiative was incorporated in July 2006. Advocating the creation of energy from renewable resources, the company had promoted Jatropha Plantations on the wasteland possessed by the farmers in the North Eastern States, Orissa and Jharkhand. The Company had a comprehensive network to manufacture bio-diesel from the oilseeds harvested by the farmers.

Biodiesel initiative hoped to benefit local communities through commercial plantation of Jatropha. NGOs and self-help groups were also involved.


The Project on Development of Agronomic practices for Jatropha curcas is being implemented, with the financial assistance of DBT, New Delhi. Dr. Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth, India has Planted Jatropha on 3 square kilometres, with the financial assistance of National Oilseeds and Vegetable oils development Board.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b http://www.fuerteventuradigital.com/noticias/News/2007/09/19/194531.asp
  2. ^ Satyendra Nath Mishra. 2014. Design of Resource Use: case of jatropha based biodisel in India. Journal of Rural Development. 33(1). 1–13. Online link "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-31.
  3. ^ "Centre For Jatropha Promotion – Promoting farming for future fuel – Growing Diesel Fuel Plant". Retrieved 15 November 2006.
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  11. ^ "Chhattisgarh to plant 160 mn jatropha saplings". India eNews Pvt. Ltd. Retrieved 23 April 2006.
  12. ^ "Chhattisgarh Bio-fuel Development Authority". Archived from the original on 19 February 2007. Retrieved 26 March 2007.
  13. ^ Barta, Patrick (24 August 2007). "Jatropha Plant Gains Steam in Global Race for Biofuels". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 1 April 2008. Until recently, B.K. Nagendrappa didn't care much at all about jatropha, an ugly wild green shrub that thrives in India. Now, the coconut grower hopes to plant as many as 12 acres (4.9 ha) of the stuff on his land near Bangalore.
  14. ^ http://www.lablandbiodiesel.com Labland Biodiesel. Retrieved 21 June 2008
  15. ^ "HPCL, Maharashtra tie up for bio-diesel venture". The Hindu Business Line. Retrieved 8 July 2006.
  16. ^ "Maharashtra to offer 300 km² to private sector for jatropha cultivation". The Hindu Business Line. Retrieved 8 July 2006.
  17. ^ "Pune take the lead in using bio-diesel for running 105 buses". Indiadaily.com. Archived from the original on 23 March 2007. Retrieved 8 July 2006.
  18. ^ "The Govind Gram Vikas Pratishthan (GOGVIP)". GOGVIP. Archived from the original on 8 October 2007. Retrieved 23 August 2007.
  19. ^ "Ahmednagar NGO set to launch biodiesel project". Business Line. Retrieved 23 August 2007.

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