A working paper titled "Going Beyond Jatropha: Can an Expanded Land and Feedstock Base Help India Meet its Ambitious Biodiesel Target?:" by Dr Promode Kant, Dr Wu Shuirong, Ms Swati Chaliha and Rajeshwar Jasrotia has been published by the Institute of Green Economy (IGREC).
The issues raised in this Working Paper related to production of biodiesel, though written with particular reference to India and China, have strong implications for developing countries like Africa where concern over 'land grabbing' by foreign companies seeking agricultural investment opportunities looms high.
Increased use of biodiesel is an important part of India’s strategy for climate change mitigation. After its earlier plans to begin mandatory blending of fossil diesel with biodiesel by the year 2005 failed to take off due to inadequate production of biodiesel caused by near complete reliance on one species, Jatropha curcas, India decided to broadbase its feedstock and land choices in order to achieve 17% blending by year 2017.
This research work uses information on land and oil seed species available in the databases of relevant Indian institutions for identifying marginal lands unsuited for agriculture in various agro-climatic zones. After accounting for other existing uses and impracticality of use, the marginal lands actually available is estimated at 11.2 million hectares and thirteen species of trees bearing oil seeds suitable for planting on these lands have been identified. In addition, 20% of seeds of Sal (Shorea robusta) occurring gregariously over 10 million hectares of natural forests across the country, and of Rubber (Hevea brasilensis) over about 0.5 million hectares of large scale plantations in peninsular India, could be beneficially used for this purpose. But even after this resource base enlargement, the annual biodiesel yield in 2020 is estimated at only 8.83 million tons enabling about 8% blending by that year. Since China is also
intending to develop an ambitious biodiesel blending plan a limited comparison with China has been drawn.
Huge demands for biodiesel in these countries would necessitate large scale
imports unless there is a major technological breakthrough in lignocellulosic liquid biofuels. Experiences of past indicates that import of biodiesel in such large quantities could create severe adverse ecological and socio-economic consequences for the producing country, particularly if it happens to be a developing country with inadequate governance.
For ecologically sustainable imports of such large quantities of biodiesel India and China would need to coordinate with concerned international bodies like FAO to develop appropriate import strategies well in advance.
Read this full Working Paper: "Going Beyond Jatropha: Can an Expanded Land and Feedstock Base Help India Meet its Ambitious Biodiesel Target?:" by Dr Promode Kant, Dr Wu Shuirong, Ms Swati Chaliha and Rajeshwar Jasrotia from here