In a significant development, Rajasthan is now the first state in India to move ahead with the production and use of biofuels on a major scale, implementing the Centre’s national policy on the same. Reports indicate that the Rajasthan government will publish its own version of rules governing biofuels.
So, what are biofuels?
“Biofuel is any fuel that is derived from biomass—that is, plant or algae material or animal waste. Since such feedstock material can be replenished readily, biofuel is considered to be a source of renewable energy, unlike fossil fuels such as petroleum and coal,” according to Britannica.
In other words, this is yet another alternative and eco-friendly fuel option.
Here five things you should know about the Rajasthan government’s latest endeavour:
1. There will be a greater focus on raising the production of oilseeds.
2. It is promoting research and development in this arena, besides marketing on the same, through advertisements spreading awareness.
3. The state government will establish women-driven self-help groups through the State Rural Livelihood Council, encouraging the use of biofuels.
4. This endeavour would also attempt to help farmers get rid of their surplus inventory in an eco-friendly and efficient manner, besides reducing dependence on oil imports.
5. The Rajasthan government has already set up a biodiesel (manufactured from vegetable oils, un-edible oilseeds, used cooking oil, crop waste, recycled grease, algae, and animal fat) plant possessing a capacity of eight tonnes a day. This new policy seeks to help establish a steady supply chain for the production of biodiesel, replacing fossil fuels.
To the uninitiated, here are some of the benefits of biodiesel:
1) For starters, it is a renewable source of energy. Production of the same can happen locally through the process of transesterification, which involves separating glycerine from vegetable oil or animal fat. Additionally, the chemical process of transesterification leaves a residue of methyl esters and glycerine residue, which can then be used for the production of soap and other such products.
2) Certain experts argue that diesel engines require little modification while running on biodiesels and the energy produced is 90% of what the conventional version can offer. Carbon dioxide emissions from the production of biodiesel results are 60% less than conventional diesel.
3) It is one of the most thoroughly tested alternative fuels on the market. Tested by prominent institutions around the globe and various governments, studies have shown that although biodiesel doesn’t perform as well as fossil fuels, it has way greater health and environmental benefits.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)