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Article contributed by Mr. Ashish Upreti, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Technology and Computer Applications

Natural resources(petroleum and its products), while getting transformed into heat energy generate environmentally harmful products like CO, CO2, NOx, HC etc. causing a detrimental effect to the environment including ecosystem and ecology, indirectly and directly, to the health of living beings. Directly through air pollution (inhalation of harmful gases, smog formation etc.) and water pollution (industrial waste water, agricultural runoff, municipal sewage etc.), while indirectly through degradation of ecosystem, natural hazards, ozone depletion etc.

Thus summarizing the changes that occur to the functioning of earth system is as follows:

  1. Disruptions to the global climate.
  2. Depletion of stratospheric ozone.
  3. Irreversible losses of biological diversity.
  4. Changes in the structure and functioning of ecosystem around the world.

Biofuel is any liquid fuel made from plant that can be used as a substitute for petroleum-derived fuel. Biodiesel is a biofuel which is  derived from renewable feed stocks. There are ten plant species for biodiesel production some of them are Jatropha curcas, Madhuca indica (Mahua), Pongamia pinnata, Azadirachta indica (Neem) and Simarouba glauca. Biodiesel can be produced by  transesterification process where vegetable oil or animal fat react in presenceof a catalyst  with an alcohol(methanol or ethanol) to give biodiesel and glycerin as a byproduct.

Biodiesel can solve India’s many problems. First, asagricultural growth lags behind growth in manufacturing and servicesdue to lack of investment and low productivity,which can only be arrested by stimulating rural development . About 70% of India’s poor people live in rural areas, and their probability to overcome poverty during one generation are dim . Also, spending on  imports of petroleum send dollars out of our country thereby reducing our foreign exchange. Biodiesel production shift this spending from foreign imports to domestically produced energy. Wastelands, degraded forest land and land with scrub vegetation could be the regions where  oil-bearing trees can be planted. It also offers new energy-related markets to farmers.

Second, India’s oil imports causes a huge expenditure and creating a deficit in balance of payments and increasing the share in GDP. India’s oil import will rise by 93 %. Also, emissions will rise to 3000 mt by 2020, making India the third largest emitter worldwide, after the United States and China.

Third,  the supply of crude oil and natural gas is limited. Biodiesel has the potential to replace the limited supplies of fossil fuels.

Also, India will equal the size of the US economy by 2040 and exceed its economy in 2050, so to cope with energy deficit, to have it’s economy continuously rising and to provide a suitable habitat to the next generation use ofalternate ecofriendly fuel is a necessity .

The smog formation and emission of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, PAH and nPAH compounds were greatly reduced by using Biodiesel.There are significant reductions in  emissions : 99 % reduction in SOxemissions,20% reduction in CO, 32% reduction in HC, 50% reduction in soot and 39% reduction in particulate matter.

Overall benefits of biodiesel over diesel fuelinclude displacement of imported petroleum, lower toxicity and exhaust emissions, derivation from renewable feedstocks, very small sulfur and aromatics content, superior lubricity and biodegradability, and a positive energy balance.

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