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Bioenergy Development in the State of Karnataka

The constitution of Biofuel Task Force to formulate the policy, the formation of the Karnataka State Bioenergy Development Board (KSBDB) is the major initiatives taken by the Government of Karnataka towards the development of Biofuels/Bioenergy in the State. Karnataka is the first State in formulating and implementing the biofuel policy in the country. The KSBDB has launched several schemes and programmes to popularize the production and usage of bioenergy and taken various measures through information and decimation related to plantation of biofuel species like pongamia pinnata, neem, mahua, simarouba, surahonee etc., feedstock collection, processing, value addition and usage of biofuels in automobiles and for captive power generation. The major plantation activities are taken up on the bunds and hedges of farmer’s land and the plantation on road side, waste lands and degraded forest lands in co-operation with the Forest department. The stand taken here is not to encroach upon agricultural lands for development of energy biomass. It is not only the Government agencies that are involved in the development of bioenergy but also several other institutions including private colleges are involved in the development process with emphasis on rural development. Today Karnataka has been recognized as the role model for the rest of the country and even internationally, for its efforts in systematic development of the bioenergy sector in the State.

The Landmark Achievements:

  • Establishment of 34 Bioenergy Research, Information and Demonstration Centre in all the districts of the State. These Centres are involving in seed procurement directly from the farmers, production of biodiesel, value addition activities and usage of biodiesel in institution vehicles. The centres are organizing awareness camps, conducting training programmes, seminars and workshops to the public, farmers, students and the entrepreneurs.
  • Three Biofuel Parks in Haasana, Dharawada and Yadagiri districts for identification of mother trees to produce elite planting material and also to develop high yielding, oil content grafted seedlings in association with the Agriculture Universities.
  • Development and propagation of grafted seedlings through the identification of elite planting material through the establishment of 9 Clonal Orchards in association with the Research & Utilization wing of Forest department.
  • A scheme to involve rural Self Help Groups (SHGs) for seed collection, oil extraction and marketing of oil and cake, on a pilot mode, with 13 Mini Oil Expelling Units distributed in rural area.
  • Biofuel Retail Outlet to facilitate the marketing activities and also to popularise the usage biofuel products has also been put up on trial basis.
  • More than 300 projects supported under the Students Projects Programme (SPP) of Karnataka State Council for Science and Technology (KSCST)

for encouraging the students of under graduate and the post graduate of various Engineering Colleges, Universities and other educational institutions for taking up research projects in areas related to biofuels and bioenergy.

Information, Education and Communication (IEC) activities through audio visuals, AIR, DD and Print media for reach out programmes. The board continued the services of NGOs in potential districts (12) to carry out the IEC activities in rural area and also to helps in collection of seeds and usage of biodiesel by consumers.

  • To monitor the development of bioenergy activities, mapping of resources at the district level a committee constituted District Biofuel Monitoring Committee under the Chairmanship of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Zilla Panchayat.
  • The board is in the process of establishing a Bioenergy Research and Quality Assurance Laboratory which will be the first of its kind in the country. The laboratory will provide a platform to take up research activities, testing of all the quality parameters of raw material, finished and other value added products. Also the laboratory will play a major role in analysis & certification of all bioenergy related products.

It is heartening to learn that bioenergy is gradually gaining popularity in the State with Government showing keen interest in the development activities.  The list of Stake holders has also increased including the general public who are ready to blend biodiesel in their diesel vehicles.    

Yashavanth, IAS
Managing Director,
Karnataka State Bioenergy Development Board

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