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  • 1. Plant-based biofuel Paliza Shrestha, Mount Holyoke College ES-390
  • 2. Background  Current ways of energy use is unsustainable  Demand for renewable energy sources is expected to rise in future  Biofuel gaining worldwide popularity since first manufactured in Europe  U.S. promoting industrial biofuel to solve climate crisis  Small scale biofuel projects sprouting in rural communities
  • 3. What is biofuel? Liquid fuel produced from plant products Category: Biodiesel, ethanol, methanol, pure vegetable oil An alternative to petroleum based fuel Biodiesel feed stocks: •Palm •Coconut •Jatropha curcas • Rapeseed/ Mustard seed •Sunflower •Corn •Soybean •Peanuts •Algae •Used restaurant oil •Animal fats Palm seeds Coconut seeds Rapeseeds Jatropha seeds Sunflower seeds Corn Soybean seeds Pond Algae
  • 4. Alcohol (Ethanol, Methanol) Glycerine molecule which is separated out Esters of 3 fatty acid chains Catalyst (NaOH/KOH) & HEAT! Biodiesel Vegetable Oil Molecule How is biodiesel made?
  • 5. Industrial biofuel and environmental degradation • Massive deforestation in tropical rainforest in Indonesia to convert to oil palm plantations – 8% of global CO2 emissions • 21% of Brazil’s agricultural land converted to soy bean plantation – Displaced over 300,000 people • Since Jan 2003, 70,000 km2 of Amazon rainforest cleared for biofuel production • Forests and soil store 3x the amount of CO2 than does the atmosphere More…. • High production costs (energy) • Competition between food crop and fuel crop • Price increases in world grains, cereals and vegetable oils
  • 6. Can biofuels work sustainably? I think so… At the local level in isolated rural communities with • intermingled with development projects • effective government policies to protect farmers from competition • decentralized • Small scale biodiesel plants in developing countries had led to • rural electrification • improving irrigation & agriculture • job creation • women empowerment • power to local community • self sufficiency
  • 7. Biodiesel plant to power butter processing equipment, Ghana, initiated by women’s group and UNIFEM An hour of pedaling activity converts vegetable oil to biodiesel in an Indian village. The fuel is used to run irrigation pumps, tillers, rice hulling mills and generate electricity. Engine driven oil expeller
  • 8. Steps to initiating pilot projects in rural communities • Mobilize community groups , e.g. 10 to 15 households • Awareness workshops including gender sensitivity • Engage local men and women in interactive dialogue and discussions • Install irrigation pump and oil expeller for each community group • Provide skill training and instruction manuals • Form Village energy committee • Encourage household to plant jatropha plants in their private wastelands or in poorer sections of their field, e.g. on the borders of the fields • Conduct technical and business skill training to women from preparing organic fertilizer from oil cake to producing vegetable cash crops to sell in the market • Establish a small micro-finance bank so villagers can take loans
  • 9. Biodiesel processor Ethanol Algae
  • 10. Bibliography Greg Pahl. Biodiesel: Growing a new energy economy. 2007. Chelsea Green Publishing Company, White Rive Junction, VT. Biofuels for transport: Global potential and implications for sustainable energy and agriculture. Worldwatch Institute. 2007. Camden High Street, London, UK. Biofuels for sustainable rural development and empowerment of women. 2009. ENERGIA. The Netherlands. Vandana Shiva. Soil Not Oil. 2008. South End Press, Cambridge, MA.