Pongamia Pinnata
Jatropha
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Satish Lele
lelejatropha@gmail.com



Jatropha / Castor Cultivation

Technically the difference between oil and BioDiesel is viscosity. When oil is added to Diesel in small quantities (2 to 5%), there is no increase in viscosity. Hence in rural areas, oil is added to diesel and used in agricultural equipments. Also sufficient quantity of oil is not available at any place to run a 1,000 liters per day plant. Hence the business model has failed in Asia and Africa.

Jatropha Oil as substitute for Castor Oil: Castor oil and Animal Tallow is mainly used for manufacture of Stearic Acid, and other derivatives. Since the price of Castor oil has shot up to US$ 2.5 per liter, price of Jatropha oil (which is technically oil of Wild Castor having similar fatty acid structure) at US$ 1.5 per liter is competitive for using it in place of castor oil. Most of the animal tallow is now used for manufacture of BioDiesel, hence its supply is greatly reduced. Pongamia and Mahua oil can also substitute Castor oil to some extent.
Current Trend in Use of Jatropha / Pongamia / Mahua Oil: The Jatropha / Pongamia / Mahua Oil extracted by expeller is being marketed as Fuel Additive for fuel used for Diesel Generating sets. The users have found that when added to Petroleum Fuels, @ 2 to 5%, it improves the lubrication of Engine and reduces the noise of engine. Entire value chain of Non-Edible Oil Seeds Growers, Oil Producers and Marketers needs to be developed to get fair value for the efforts of all stakeholders.


Holistic Approach of (ADIWASI) Model
Aboriginal Development Initiative With A Sustainable Income

Many NGOs which work for upliftment of Tribals have found this model very effective. There are two schemes.
Scheme 1 : The NGOs set up Hand Operated Expellers like these, (which do not require electrical power) in their centers. Tribals come to these centers with their bags containing any Oil Bearing Seed like Jatropha, Pongamia, Neem (Non Edible oils for lamps), Mahua (Edible oils for Cooking) and crush the seeds themselves. The tribals carry the extracted oil home for burning these in oil lamps and for cooking. The Tribals leave the seed cake in these centers. The NGOs then process the seed cakes of Jatropha, Pongamia, Neem to manufacture Bio Fertilizer in their centers, (Mahua cake is sold as Fish Feed) and sell it later. Tribals collect sufficient seeds, during harvesting period to last for a year, but crush these to get oil as and when required. Oil can last long if stored in air tight 1 liter bottles.
Scheme 2 : The same NGOs buy the oil, extracted as above and sell it to Temples, Hotels, Households for burning them in simple lamps, as a social cause. The NGOs also tie-up with Fuel Additive and Soap Manufacturers for buying oil from them, at a specified rate. The profit from sale of oil is passed on to Tribals as reasonably good price for oil.
There is a two step process to convert seed cake into BioFertilizer. In first step the seed cake is fermented in BioGas Plant.

Seed cake has C:N ratio of 40. Most of the Carbon is converted to BioGas and C:N ratio is reduced to 10. Large protein molecules in cake are broken down to smaller molecules. The cake coming out of BioGas plant is then further processed in a simple, low cost, BioFertilizer plant as shown below. The smaller protein molecules are further broken down in BioFertilizer plant, which can be absorbed by plants as fertilizer.

In the sheds the seed cake is eaten by earthworms and bacteria to produce BioFertilizer. Water is sprinkled on the cake heap, which is kept moist at all times. It is turned upside down once a day. It may take 3 to 4 months to complete the process. It provides employment to a number of tribals.

For detailed presentation.

In the village of Chapaldi in Seemandhra, India, women make fuel from pongamia seeds and use it to power the village's electricity micro-grid and irrigation pumps. Every family pays the women's association with 7 kilograms of seeds per week for electricity, while local farmers pay an additional fee to run their pumps. Since 2003, the women leveraged their seeds even further when their association sold 900 tons of carbon-dioxide equivalent emissions reductions to Germany for $4,164 - the equivalent of a year's income for the entire village.
Myanmar is still the leading producing country by area of Jatropha Plantation, which now stands at 2.5 million hectares. This has been possible because of strong political leadership. The total Jatropha plantation area in India is estimated at around 450,000 hectares. Over 10 per cent are new plantations and would mature in the next four years.
Large scale plantations are now ready in Horn of Africa. Some parties are now ready to set up plants on designs and drawings developed by me.

    Advantages of Jatropha / Castor Plantations
  1. Jatropha / Castor grows much faster than any other bush and fixes CO2 as its stem and branches, thus reducing CO2 from Atmosphere and offer biomass.

  2. 1 acre of Jatropha plantation absorbs and reduces 500 kgs of CO2 every year, from Atmosphere. This is a good way to reduce Green House Gases in Atmosphere.

  3. Jatropha is a soft tree. It does not break or get uprooted in case of Cyclones and Floods, like other Oil Bearing Seed Trees. It was observed in devastating floods in Myanmar.

  4. Plantation reduces the amount of Dust / Sand that is carried by high winds (especially in Deserts) and reduces chance of respiratory deceases. It also cools the entire area.

  5. It also provides rural employment and fuel for lighting in local areas. It avoids migration of rural population to urban areas, in serach of work and income.

The ex-President of India and Eminent Scientist, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, advocates Jatropha plantation in every lecture. He has also planted 800 Jatropha plants in Presidential (Mogul) Gardens.

The main goal of my work is to enable communities in rural Asia and Africa, to develop alternative energy options that will be good for the environment and help promote sustainable livelihoods in the region, without exposing them to such adverse effects of modernization as cultural transformations, and allowing them to retain independence in the face of globalization. This is done with very simple methods and techniques.
Economic development in Asia and Africa has led to huge increases in the energy demand. The recognition that conventional energy sources are the major cause of climate change, clean and inexpensive renewable energy technologies need to be widely introduced. In this respect switching from Fossil Fuels or other Green House Gas (GHG) emitting sources to renewable sources of energy makes sense for the climate, the environment and sustainable society.
I focus my activities on income improvement through the establishment of the Jatropha / Castor cultivation and Seed Collection from Forests. Systems for Local, community-based production of environmentally friendly fuel are being developed. I explore how permanent exploitation of different aspects of Oil Bearing Seeds might be a real alternative to the common carbon-based fuel for energy production. I contribute to improvement of Jatropha / Castor System which benefit four main aspects of development and secure a sustainable way of life for village farmers and the land that supports them.

  1. Renewable Energy
  2. Erosion Control and Soil Improvement
  3. Promotion of Women Employment
  4. Poverty Reduction.
The overall objectives of my work is:
  1. Make Jatropha / Castor cultivation and collection of seeds from forests, a low-risk venture with attractive returns.

  2. Help attract private investors in cultivation of Jatropha / Castor and collection of other non-edible oil seeds.

  3. Promote and recognize endeavors to build technical capacities of rural entrepreneurs.

  4. Help create new work opportunities in Jatropha / Castor cultivation and Bio Gas / Bio Fertilizer related sectors.

  5. Highlight environmental and social integration of Jatropha / Castor cultivation systems in rural communities.

  6. Provide gender sensitive socio-economic and environmental analysis of Jatropha / Castor cultivation in rural communities.

Attention to gender will be of my special concern with aims to improve the position of women through energy related income generating projects. I pay particular attention to the inclusion of women in Jatropha / Castor System to ensure that the interests of local women are represented. Stakeholder selection will be inclusive.
There are no barriers for implementation, because low cost and simple technologies exist locally, but within specific cultural contexts, they will have to be effectively implemented. Any economic and development projects in these areas may affect the integrity of the region. In addition to the economic and political differences between regions, some areas have special geographical characteristics. To be fully effective, Jatropha / Castor cultivation and biofuel production system should involve the identification of natural resource use patterns and potential conflicts among users and affected stakeholders in order to formulate a comprehensive energy strategy that is coordinated among different sectors and levels of government.
The results are easily measurable. Most of communities are very small, so the differences may be observed by actual count of the beginning and ending conditions and the results quantified. There will be a subjective component from the residents about any improvements in "quality of life", along with some assessment of where incomes have been improved in sustainable ways.
In summary, what motivates me most is the quest for sustainable energy development approaches that are tailored to the needs of the communities and to the geographical specificities of a region.


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