India is the fourth largest ethanol producer in the world, after Brazil, the United States and China. A recent assessment by the United Nations Conference of Trade and Development (UNCTAD) shows that for the 5 per cent blend mandated in India, the ethanol required would be 640 million litres in 2006-2007, rising to 810 million litres in 2011-2012. “Current capacity can potentially satisfy this demand,” the report says.
...Biodiesel, which is produced from jatropha, edible oils (soy, palm and rapeseed) and other fats, is seen as one alternative to ethanol. Already, at 11 million hectares, jatropha has the largest area under cultivation.
At a seminar in Mumbai last month, organised by consultants Frost & Sullivan, Indian Oil Corporation’s chief of research and development, Dr Rakesh Sarin, said that the company has invested in 200 acres of jatropha plantations and is looking at a variety of blends that could eventually ease dependence on crude oil. BPCL has about 600 acres of jatropha under cultivation. Reliance Industries has also contracted farmers to cultivate 200 acres of jatropha in the Kakinada district of Andhra Pradesh.
Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of information and networking services to the private equity and venture capital ecosystem in India. View free samples of Venture Intelligence newsletters and reports.