Years ago in Germany, Rudolph Diesel had invented a compression ignition engine. It needed fuel to ‘run’. The Paris World Exposition was around the corner. He had no money to buy expensive fuels. A friend had loads of rotten peanuts. Animals had turned up their noses at it! So Rudolph’s invention ‘ran’ on yellow peanut oil. The smell of burnt peanuts lured people to his stall!
Natural oils react with alcohol, in the presence of a simple catalyst, to give biodiesel. This is blended with diesel and used as a fuel to ‘run’ machines. This fuel is cheap, ‘clean’ and ‘green’!
India cannot use edible seeds for fuel. So biodiesel comes from non-edible seeds- neem, mahua, karanjia and jatropha. Railway tracks will soon have karanjia and jatropha trees planted on waste, arid land adjoining the tracks. The seeds oil will ‘run’ diesel trains! The fuel bill will tumble from Rs.34 billion a year to a mere Rs.3-4 billion per annum.
Barren land will become fertile. Poor farmers get a lucrative cash crop. Also a bonus- free plant medicines! This ‘green’ fuel will ‘light’ up inaccessible tribal areas at a very low cost. It will fuel furnaces, pumps and engines. Trees have a life span of 40-50 years. Hard to believe? Visit Chalbardi, a Ghond tribal hamlet in the forests bordering Andhra and Maharashtra. B-URJA (Karanjia oil) has transformed their lives. Jobs are aplenty. But the kids are not happy. ‘Rich’ parents want them to do what they hate. STUDY!