Biofuels are liquid or gaseous fuels primarily produced from biomass, and can be used to replace or can be used in addition to diesel, petrol or other fossil fuels for transport, stationary, portable and other applications. Crops used to make biofuels are generally either high in sugar (such as sugarcane, sugarbeet, and sweet sorghum), starch (such as maize and tapioca) or oils (such as soybean, rapeseed, coconut, sunflower).
Biofuels are generally classified into three categories. They are
Bio-diesel is an eco-friendly, alternative diesel fuel prepared from domestic renewable resources ie. vegetable oils (edible or non- edible oil) and animal fats. These natural oils and fats are primarily made up of triglycerides. These triglycerides when reacted chemically with lower alcohols in presence of a catalyst result in fatty acid esters. These esters show striking similarity to petroleum derived diesel and are called "Biodiesel". As India is deficient in edible oils, non-edible oil may be material of choice for producing biodiesel. Examples are Jatropha curcas, Pongamia, Karanja, etc.
The benefits of using biodiesel are as follows
Source : National Biofuel Centre
Jatropha curcas is multi purpose non edible oil yielding perennial shrub. This is a hardy and drought tolerant crop can be raised in marginal lands with lesser input. The crop can be maintained for 30 years economically.
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Sugarbeet (Beta vulgaris Var. Saccharifera L.) is a biennial sugar producing tuber crop, grown in temperate countries. Now tropical sugarbeet varieties are gaining momentum in tropical and sub tropical countries, as a promising alternative energy crop for the production of ethanol.
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Sorghum (S. bicolor) is the most important millet crop occupying largest area among the cereals next to rice. It is mainly grown for its grain and fodder. Alternative uses of sorghum include commercial utilization of grain in food industry and utilization of stalk for the production of value-added products like ethanol, syrup and jaggery and bioenriched bagasse as a fodder and as a base material for cogeneration.
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There is several non edible oil yielding trees that can be grown to produce biofuel. Karanja (Pongamia) is one of the most suitable trees. It is widely grown in various parts of the country.
Salient features of Pongamia
Properties of Pongamia Oil
Pongamia seed oil Vs standard petroleum/diesel
|Property||Bio-fuel||Petroleum / diesel|
|Specific gravity (15°C/4°C||0.917||0.841|
|Solidfying Point (°C)||2.0||0.14|
|Flash Point (°C)||110||80|
|Carbon Residue (%)||0.64||0.05|
|Distillation (°C)||284 to295||350|
|Sulfur (%)||0.13 to 0.16||1.0|
|Acid Value||1.0 to38.2|
|Saponification Value||188 to 198|
|Iodine Value||90.8 to 112.5|
|Refractive Index (30°C)||1.47|
Source : TNAU
Last Modified : 3/2/2020
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