It will have the capacity to produce ten million litres a year
The proposed plant is an Indo-U.S. ventureIt will be able to process a wide variety of feedstock into bio-diesel fuel
MYSORE: India's first multiple-feed bio-diesel plant with a capacity to produce ten million litres annually will shortly be set up in Mysore under an Indo-U.S. venture. It will have the capacity to process a wide variety of feedstock including neem, jatropha and honge into bio-diesel fuel that can meet international standards.
Officials from California-based Biodiesel Industries Inc., who visited Mysore on Monday, clinched a deal with Labland Biotech, a company engaged in tissue culture of elite jatropha clones to set up a Rs. 45-crore model bio-diesel production facility.
"It may take us two months to start work. By the end of this year, bio-diesel production will start", President of Biodiesel Industries Inc, Russell Teall told The Hindu .
The two companies are also coming together to start an International Centre for Jatropha Technology at the same facility. It will focus on research and development of jatropha hybrids.
The project will come up on 25 hectares of land in the vicinity of Mysore and provide employment to nearly 400 people, said Managing Director of Labland Biotech Sudheer A. Shetty.
"This venture will be the first truly integrated bio-diesel project in India, which includes all aspects of jatropha research, development and cultivation, together with processing equipment for extracting oil and converting them to meeting strict international standards", he said.
The main feature of the recently patented oil refinery to be set up by Biodiesel Industries Inc. is its ability to process into bio-diesel a wide range of feedstock that includes virgin, crude and recycled vegetable oils and animal fats such as soya, mustard, rapeseed, cotton, palm, jatropha, neem, pongamia (honge), coconut, poultry fat, recycled fryer oil and grease trap materials.
"The refinery will require 8,000 hectares of jatropha cultivation. At present, jatropha is not available in required quantity in the region. We will make do with neem and honge till then," Mr. Teall said. The technology deployed in the oil refinery to be set up in Mysore by Biodiesel Industries is protected by patent and has already been incorporated in four operating commercial facilities - in California, Texas and Colorado in the U.S. and one in Australia.
"The company does not sell its equipment as a standalone item, but instead establishes joint ventures with qualified partners to own and operate bio-diesel production and distribution in exclusive territories", Mr Teall said.
Sale of bio-fuel
Promoters of the multiple-feed oil refinery in Mysore propose to sell bio-diesel to domestic consumers.
Mr. Teall was optimistic about bringing down the rate to cost of petroleum diesel if the Government comes forward with incentives and subsidies.
"Right now, the cost of producing bio-diesel is higher than the cost at which petroleum diesel is available", he said. However, large-scale use of bio-diesel guarantees a reduction in emission of toxic gases and India's dependance on oil imports.
Dr. Shetty said the International Centre for Jatropha Technology seeks to propagate jatropha cultivation in the region. "Each acre of jatropha-cultivated land will fetch the farmer Rs. 5,000 in the second year. The returns will go on multiplying for the next five years before stabilising for the remaining 40-year-long life-cycle of jatropha plant."
He said that a refinery for processing jatropha into bio-diesel will instill confidence in farmers to grow the crop in large numbers.
"Apart from opportunities for direct employment to about 400 people, the plant can give indirect employment to about 20,000 farmers in the region," Dr. Shetty said.