Studies on biodiesel production from local tree species oil and consequent ecological impact in rural Karnataka

  • Adappa Chandrashekar Lokesh

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    The Government of India has planned to substitute 20% (12-15 million metric tonnes) of fossil diesel with biodiesel, produced using non-edible oils by 2017. In addition to Jatropha, more than 300 species of oil-bearing trees have been identified as biodiesel feedstock in India, of which, around 80 species inhabit Karnataka state. The key issue is to analyse whether these biodiesel feedstock are ecologically and economically sustainable.

    This dissertation attempts to address this issue by carrying out a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) on viability of biodiesel production from tree borne oils in comparison to Jatropha and fossil diesel. Feedstock native to Karnataka state namely (1) Pongamia pinnata, (2) Madhuca longifolia, (3) Azadirachta indica and (4) Simarouba glauca, have been analysed in this research. The LCA studies were carried out at the Biofuel Park, in Hassan district of Karnataka State. The objectives were to (i) asses the energy input and output, green house gas emissions and impact of land use change on ecosystem (ii) assess the economic viability of biodiesel production and (iii) formulate strategies for sustainable biodiesel production at rural level.

    LCA studies revealed that non-renewable energy requirement (NRER) throughout the life cycle of Pongamia, Madhuca, Azadirachta and Simarouba systems were found to be 4 to 7 times lower than Jatropha system and 25 to 42 times lower than conventional diesel system. Similarly, Net Energy Gain has been found to be highest in Madhuca, followed by Pongamia, Simarouba and Azadirachta system, which is 42 to 24 times higher than the output from Jatropha system. Global warming potential of Pongamia, Madhuca, Azadirachta and Simarouba were found to be 3-4 times lower than Jatropha system and 7- 8 times lower than fossil diesel system. Ecosystem structure and functional quality aspects of Pongamia, Madhuca, Azadirachta and Simarouba were found to be 2-4 times better than that of Jatropha system.

    Economic viability studies revealed that price of biodiesel (with 20 % profit) produced from Pongamia, Madhuca, Azadirachta and Simarouba oil was found to be 6 % less than subsidised conventional diesel in Karnataka State (i.e. Rs.51.20/- per litre annual average 2012).

    This study revealed that Pongamia and Simarouba are ecologically and economically viable while Azadirachta and Madhuca are only ecologically viable feedstock for biodiesel production in the current economic scenario. Strategies for sustainable biodiesel production were proposed based on the outcome of the LCA studies. The structured framework evolved as a part of this research may be adopted for analysing any local biodiesel feedstock in India for sustainable biodiesel production.
    Date of Award2014
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    • M S Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences
    SupervisorNaranapur Somashekhar Mahesh (Supervisor), Balakrishna Gowda (Supervisor) & Peter White (Supervisor)

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