Biodiesel or biofuel is slowly gaining popularity in the rural areas of Dakshina Kannada including Puttur and Bantwal regions. A biodiesel bunk has been set up at Alakemajalu near Vittal in the Bantwal taluk. It was an initiative by Keshavamurthy, an IT professional who worked in the UK till recently, who returned to his native place and took up this project forward. The biofuel is produced from the extracts of soya and corn in Gujarat which is then transported to Bantwal via road.
Today, there is an increasing demand for sources of renewable fuel at a time when the world is trying to find alternatives for non renewable fuels such as petrol and diesel. It was only recently that Union minister for road transport and highways, Nitin Gadkari proposed a change to biofuels, electricity etc as transport fuel as an alternative, which is beneficial as it is cheaper and will help reduce pollution.
Biodiesel is a form of diesel fuel derived from plants or animals and consisting of long-chain fatty acid esters. It is typically made by chemically reacting lipids such as animal fat, soybean oil or some other vegetable oil with alcohol, producing a methyl, ethyl or propyl ester.
Biofuel boasts several qualities which makes it a better alternative for the commonly used non renewable fuels. The quality of this diesel is better as compared to the normal diesel obtained from crude oil. It costs one rupee less per litre as compared to normal diesel, and the vehicle mileage goes up by two to three kilometres per litre when biodiesel is used. Biodiesel customers also claim that as this oil is thicker as compared to normal diesel, the engines run smoothly.
Though not yet a popular source of fuel in India, many countries including the US have been using the fuel as an effective alternative. India should also recognise the benefits of using biofuel and switch to it so that we can at least hope for a cleaner and healthier environment, in which we are not swallowed by the pollution that is growing everyday.