Biodiesel feedstock farming in India

While Jatropha farming in India is not specifically related to sustainable transport in Australia, one Australian company (Mission Biofuels) has set up an Indian subsidiary to source Jatropha feedstock for biodiesel production. With this in mind we thought we’d share an example of what is taking place in India and provide more information on Jatropha and some of the other plants being trialled for biodiesel feedstock.

Tree Oils India Limited (TOIL) was established in 2003 to develop environment friendly and sustainable energy systems based on plant sources, contribute to waste land utilisation and employment of farmers. TOIL is primarily engaged in manufacture of biodiesel from non-edible tree oils such as Jatropha curcas and Pongamia pinnata.

Jatropha curcas is Latin American in origin and is closely related to Castor. It is a large shrub and can thrive in a number of climatic zones in arid and semi-arid tropical regions of the world. An easy to establish perennial, it can grow in areas of low rainfall of 250 mm per year and is drought tolerant.

Jatropha - Tree Oils India Limited

TOIL Jatropha plantation

Pongamia pinnata is a native of India and grows in dry places far in the interior and up to an elevation of 1000 m. It is a hardy tree that mines water for its needs up to 10 metre depths without competing with other crops.

Pongamia - Tree Oils India Limited

TOIL Pongamia plantation

In order to facilitate commercial production of tree based oils on a large scale TOIL established a 120 acre R&D farm in India in 2003. The plantation consists of 60 acres of Pongamia (Indian Beech), 40 acres of Jatropha (Physic Nut), 5 acres of Moringa (Drumstick), 2 acres of Azadirachta (Neem), 2 acres of Azardica (Neem), 1 acre of Sapindus (Soap nut) and 1 acre of
Simarouba (Paradise). TOIL have also planted Madhuca (Mahua), Aleurites
(Candle Nut) and Sapium (Chinese Tallow) to for research purposes. The focus
has been on developing an integrated tree based oils farming system that can
be adopted by contract farmers within the next five years.

TOIL is planning to set up a 2 tonne per day (TPD) capacity biodiesel plant, depending upon the availability of seed. In due course, TOIL proposes to set up number of such units in different parts of the country and network them. The target is to have 50,000 acres of plantation and 100 TPD of biodiesel production.

Source: Sreenivas Ghatty, CEO of Tree Oils India Limited.


13 Responses

  1. Syndicated on Biofuel Worldwide.

  2. Srinivas, congratulations on this coverage..


  3. Momentum is picking up. Increasing footprint of coverage through such channels can bring greater awareness, lower fossil fuel dependence & help sustainable development to energy starved nations like India.

  4. Jatropha Plantations are doing well in India due to 3 reasons

    India is densely populated country and the Fallow land holding per farmer is 1 to 10 acres. A family of farmer can take care of this size of land very easily, as far as plantation, harvesting as well as security is concerned. The infrastructure of Roads, Housing, Market is already there in Farmer’s village. This infrastructure substantially reduces cost, as compared to plantations on barren, vast, unhabited lands.

    Most of the farming in India is Organic by default. Cow dung is used as manure for Jatropha, and it is the cow dung which has done all the difference in low mortalily of saplings, good yield, less pests etc. (In India there are 1 cattle for every 5 persons, 200 million cattle for 1 billion persons)

    In India, the day to day expences are quite low and a daily per capita income of US$ 2, in rural areas, is good enough for survival. This makes indian farmer, far more competitive as compared to farmers in developed world.

  5. how it compares costwise with normal diesel?

  6. dont beleave this bio dieseal all are bogas as per india because all over the world politics is there they came to power not for service to earn only. if you are power to control any government and you also do bogas and earn money. but biodesel is good but not in working every where.

  7. We proudly introducing ourself and we are running an N.G.O. in the style of “UNITED CHAMBER OF COMMERSE’, registered office at Chennai and Branch office at Mananmadurai,Ramnad District. We are concerating the business promotion and devolpment of S.H.G. of the interior south Tamilnadu.That includes of Sivaganga,Ramanad,Dindugul and Theni Districts. We had above 100 S.H.Group under our head.

    We are intrested to promote the Jetropha cultivation through our S.H.G. Please send your Jetropha promotion formalities. We expect your reply and thanking you,
    With regards,

  8. Hallo!
    I would like to try Pongamia Pinnatta in Alabama, USA.
    Does anybody have any idea or suggestions on it?
    I will appreciated if anybody give suggestions.
    Thank you,

    • Pongamia will grow in Alabama but will not yield seed of significant yield. There is other cold weather tree biofuel crops that will grow in Alabama.

      • Hallo! Mike,
        Thank you for your reply.
        I want to know about the other kinds of biofuel crops which can grow in Alabama, Georgia and Florida.
        Can you give me information about that kinds of crops?
        My Email address is
        Thank you very much,

  9. Hi Vinay,

    I represent a group of people from Germany who is interested to start a biodiesel production facility in India. I would like to have a discussion with you on the way you are approaching it and also share our perspective and research.

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