liquids or gaseous fuels produced from biomass resources and used in place of,
or in addition to, diesel, petrol or other fossil fuels for transport, stationary,
portable and other applications; 'Biomass’ resources are the biodegradable
fractions of products, wastes and residues from agriculture, forestry and
related industries as well as the biodegradable fraction of industrial and
municipal wastes. However for practical purposes bio-fuel would mean Bio-diesel
from non- edible oils and waste fatty matter and Bio-ethanol from
Biofuels in Karnataka
Karnataka is one of the important consumers of fossil fuels
(petroleum etc). Achieving energy self reliance and fuel security by
progressive use of renewable energy through harnessing potential of the state
without affecting the food production in the state. State can contribute for
reducing the import bill of oil for the country. Earning carbon credits and
promoting trading in CER’s. Bio-fuel programmes can increase rural income and
women empowerment by generating rural employment. Facilitating coordination of
the work of different departments, NGO’s and private agencies dealing in
various aspects of bio-fuels to aggregate all the information on bio-fuels in
Karnataka at one place for better knowledge sharing, convergence and synergies.
Bio-fuel programmes Facilitates optimal land use for bio-fuels, avoiding
competing needs of food security. Bio-fuel programmes enhance research and
development, production and use of bio-fuels. Synchronizes all other policies
and programmes of the state which has direct or indirect effects on utilizing
bio-fuel potentials of the state.
Bio-fuel development in Karnataka
The use of vegetable oils, wood & plant wastes and animal fats
as fuels for lighting and heating purposes dates back to prehistoric times.
Usage of Karanj, Neem and other vegetable oils as sources of light in rural areas
is well recorded in ancient Indian folklore and history. The first diesel
engine invented by Rudolf Diesel in late 19th century was actually run on
The term bio-fuel as is understood in the modern
context, has two major offshoots namely, bio-diesel and bio-ethanol. These are
in reality ways of harnessing solar energy through the medium of plant kingdom.
In fact, there are several people who feel the bio-diesel route of harnessing
solar energy is ideal since this involves greening of wastelands which has
tremendous environmental benefits as well.
It is interesting to note that the erstwhile Mysore State through
Mandya Sugars, was supplying ethanol to Bombay Presidency for use as power
petrol for utilization in their BEST buses etc. Work on bio-fuels has been
going on in Karnataka in a fairly systematic way for over two decades at least.
Some of the recorded efforts in practical applications of bio-fuels are listed
In addition, Karnataka has also been a leading state in R&D on
the entire value chain of bio-fuels. The first official policy on bio-fuels
(bioethanol) in India was actually incorporated in the Millennium Biotech
Policy of GoK in 2001. In 2003, SuTRA in collaboration with a Karnataka based
reputed NGO Samagra Vikas organized an all-India conference on Policy and
Strategic issues in the bio-fuel sector of India in IISc, Bangalore. The
conference which was inaugurated by Mr Ram Naik, the then Union Minister for
Petroleum, had the active participation of several important organizations
involved in each and every stage of the value chains of bio-fuel sector. The
recommendations, which were later sent to Government of India, actually laid
the foundation for the draft policy on bio-fuels of GoI. While this policy
unfortunately took several years to be finalized by the central government,
Government of Karnataka came out with a draft policy of its own in 2007.
Government of Karnataka under the leadership of Hon’ble Chief
Minister B.S. Yediyurappa also took the proactive step of forming a Task Force on
Bio-fuels in Sept. 2008 under the leadership of Mr. Y B Ramakrishna, a hand on
bio-fuel professional who had also contributed to this sector earlier through
Samagra Vikas. This was indeed the turning point for the bio-fuel sector in
Karnataka. Mr. Ramakrishna has marshaled the considerable resource base in
Karnataka into an effective driving force and the task force has indeed
accelerated and given a new focus to the several advantages of Karnataka. From
then onwards there has been no looking back and now a stage has been reached in
which other states are looking up to Karnataka for guidance & leadership.
The task force has taken several initiatives some of which are : finalization
of the Karnataka Bio-fuel Policy, formation of a new Karnataka Bio-fuel Board,
massive planting of important non-edible oil species, a strategic approach to
making this a mass movement by establishment of bio-fuel parks &
demonstration units all over Karnataka etc. The following account is a graphic
and factual description of the initiatives & achievements of the Task Force
on Bio-fuel of Government of Karnataka.