RENEWABLE ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES FOR ENERGY GENERATION FROM
D.RAMESH*, S. SRIRAMAJAYAM and V. PALANISELVAM
Agricultural Engineering College and Research Institute,
Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore – 641 003, Tamil Nadu
Oil is the major source (about 40%) of the world’s primary energy
consumption. India is currently the world’s eighth largest consumer of oil and is
expected to rise to fifth place in the next 20 years. The consumption and demand
for the petroleum products are increasing every year due to increase in
population, standard of living and urbanization. The petroleum products continue
to be the backbone of Indian economy with a share of 33 per cent of the energy
basket. In India, there is a deficit of 40 per cent in supply of petroleum products
and our petroleum reserves are limited to 6 to 7 years only. The increase in
crude oil import affects the country’s economy and its development. In India, the
expenditure on crude oil imports has increased sharply from Rs.6,118 crores in
1991 to Rs.90,000 crores in 2002, which is 14.7 times higher than what it was
before. This is also expected to rise continuously.
Biodiesel - solution for the future
Apart from increase in fuel demands and limited petroleum reserves,
diesel and other petroleum products are always under threat of supply
instabilities and rise in oil prices in developing countries like India. The acid rain,
global warming and health hazards are the results of ill effects of increased
polluted gases like SOx, CO and particulate matter in atmosphere. The
aforementioned issue really worries the planners and policy makers and there is
urgent need to search for suitable alternate diesel fuel from renewable sources.
Among the various renewable energy sources, seed oil-bearing crops have a
potential as supplement for meeting the increasing requirements of petroleum
and its products. Biodiesel crops have lot of scope to be planted in wasteland to
meet out the increasing diesel demand apart from helping the farming community
by creating rural employment and reducing the oil imports and air pollution.
The oil plant, Jatropha curcas (L) is a multipurpose drought resistant large
shrub or small tree. The biodiesel from jatropha oil has now become more
economical as a diesel substitute. Jatropha curcas is a large shrub/small tree
able to thrive in a number of climatic zones with rainfall of 250–1200 mm. It is
well adapted in arid and semi-arid conditions and has low fertility and moisture
demand. It can also grow on moderately sodic and saline, degraded and eroded
soil. It can be raised by seeds or cuttings. It reaches its maximum productivity by
five years and can live up to 50 years. One hectare jatropha plantation with 4400
plants per hectare under rain fed conditions can yield about 1500 litres of oil. It is
estimated that about 3 million hectares plantation is required to produce oil for
10% replacement of diesel.
Transesterification technology is used to produce the biodiesel from the
jatropha oil, which separates the glycerol from the raw jatropha oil. Glycerol is a
raw material for different chemical products. Nowadays the people are interested
to develop the jatropha plantations for biodiesel production. The cost of the
jatropha biodiesel is depending on its byproduct costs. The oilcake cannot be
used as animal feed due to its toxins viz., curcasin and cursin. The detoxified
oilcake can be used as animal feed, which increase the additional cost for
detoxification. So the oilcake can be used as fertilizer and the cost of the oilcake
is sold at lower price in the market at time of the peak oilcake production. The
energy recovery from the other jatropha materials is remains untapped. This
leads to less profit for jatropha plant growers.
Renewable energy technologies for energy generation
The biomass and other products generated from the jatropha plantations
is shown in figure 1. The generation of huge quantity of these materials leads
disposal problems and environmental pollutions. No attention has to be given for
effective utilization of all products from the jatropha plantations. The renewable
energy technologies are well proven technologies for generation of energy from
different wastes and biomass materials. The path ways for energy generation
from the jatropha plant materials is presented in this article to create the
awareness of these technologies among the jatropha plant growers, researchers
and people (table 1). These technologies are giving the solution to disposal
problems and different kinds of energy fuels, extra income to jatropha growers.
These technologies are helping the farming community by creating rural
employment for unemployed youth and reducing the oil imports and air pollution.
Fig. 1. Biomass and other products generated from jatropha plantations
Table 1. Renewable energy technologies suitable for jatropha
I. Thermo chemical conversion technologies
Extraction unit Biocrude
Gasfication and Gasifier and
II. Biochemical conversion technologies
Biomethanation Biogas plant
III. Chemical conversion technologies
Transesterificati Biodiesel plant Biodiesel
Refinery units Biofuels
SWOT analysis of jatropha plantation
Promotion of barren lands cultivation
Renewable biological source.
Maintain carbon cycle.
Sustainable solution / Ideal solution for fossil fuels.
Reduce the oil imports.
Pay back period from plantations is nearly 40 years.
Erosion control and soil improvement.
Energy recovery rate per unit area of jatropha plantations is low.
Production cost of biofuels is high.
Lacking of established standard protocol.
Unawareness of biofuel production technologies.
Employment opportunities in production catchments and
Reduction in health hazards over existing fossil fuel emissions.
Lacking in safe disposal methods for jatropha oilcake.
Encroachment of jatropha plantations in stable crop cultivation land.
Localized technology is not standardized.
Today India, a country with more than a billion people, faces the challenge
of achieving growth and development in a sustained manner. Economic growth
and development call for huge capacity additions in the energy infrastructure of
the country. The challenge is in achieving the developmental objectives without
adversely impacting the environment, natural resources, wild life and climatic
conditions. Renewable energy technologies are useful for tapping energy from
jatropha materials. These technologies show the production of energy fuels from
jatropha materials, which plays vital role in the generation of energy for the
future. The energy fuels from the jatropha can be used for electricity generation,
engine running, thermal applications, fuel cell, cooking, lighting and etc. The
application of these technologies is dependent on the degree of Research and
development as well as their commercialization.
Dr. D. RAMESH
Department of Farm Machinery
Agricultural Engineering College and Research Institute
Tamil Nadu Agricultural University
Coimbatore – 641 003
E-mail : email@example.com