Mangaluru, August 21, 2015: As per reports, IFAD - International Fund for Agriculture Development , is set to fund Karnataka’s much touted bio-fuel development programme, with $50 million. Being given in the form of a soft loan with 1% interest and carrying a 50-year repayment period, the state government is processing the papers, which will be forwarded to the union ministry of agriculture for approval, noted A K Monappa, managing director, Karnataka State Biofuel Development Board.
In an informal meet with reporters on the sidelines of Karnataka State Council for Science and Technology programme here on Aug 20. Monappa said IFAD is closely monitoring the progress of the loan that it intends to disburse keeping in mind progress made by the board in promoting bio-fuel in Karnataka. The loan will help the board take up a wide array of activities right from biofuel plantations to production of biofuel, which he said is the way forward.
The board is also scaling up the 33 bio-fuel information and demonstration centres set up by it in all districts of the state. "We are able to get an average of 100 litres of bio-fuel from these centres,a he said adding it can be scaled up to 150-200 litres with a little bit of tweaking and subject to availability of raw material to produce the fuel. Our focus for producing bio-fuel is on non-edible oil seeds for we do not want to get drawn in to a food versus energy debate," he said.
The board has also set up a 500 litre bio-diesel production plant at Hatti Gold Mines, Monappa, who is also the managing director of the company said. The board in the last four-years has produced nearly 55,000 litres of bio-fuel, he said. In addition, under the B-10 project which entails blending of bio-fuel with diesel, the process of such blending has been tried out successfully and such bio-diesel is now being dispensed through select petrol bunks in India, he added.
Noting that the union ministry of petroleum and natural gas is a big votary of bio-fuel blending, Monappa said after achieving success with 5% blending, the ministry has now taken up to 10% blending in a move that is environment friendly. Bio-diesel costs much lesser than regular diesel in bunks, he said, adding the Board has taken a pro-active role in bringing in the farmers as a stakeholder in ensuring the overall success of the bio-fuel programme in Karnataka.