Can Honge Oil Be The Future of India?

Posted on June 18, 2010 in unEarthed

Joydeep Sanyal:

A stitch in time saves nine

Energy has been universally recognized as one of the most important inputs for economic growth and human development. There is a strong two-way relationship between economic development and energy consumption. On one hand, growth of an economy, with its global competitiveness, hinges on the availability of cost-effective and environmentally benign energy sources, and on the other hand, the level of economic development has been observed to be reliant on the energy demand.

The old proverb stated above can rightly be used to describe the current energy scenario of India. Today, India has become the fifth largest consumer of fossil fuels in the world. Our energy demand has been growing at a fast rate due to high population growth and economic development. With the rapidly depleting stock of fossil fuel and the subsequent rise of petroleum products, it is expected that our development is going to be hit severely due to non availability of oil and gas. A country which is termed as one of the fastest growing economies, yet has millions and crores of people living below poverty line, the problem of meeting the energy demand with supply is going to be very challenging .

So what are the possible alternatives? Although there are many forms of renewable energy, yet the useful and large scale production of energy becomes very costly.

Honge oil/karanja oil ( pomgamia pinnata) can however be effectively used to replace our diesel requirements. Diesel has been the backbone of our economy. Diesel is not only used in the transport sector but also in agriculture and industries for generating electricity, running pumps and tractors and big machines. The entire use of diesel oil can be substituted with honge oil. The properties of honge oil are quite close to that of diesel and can be used  without conversion in pumps and tractors. The oil can also be effectively converted to bio-diesel and then used in commercial vehicles . There are various advantages of using honge oil :

  1. The cost of 1 litre honge oil is less than Rs 20, hence it is a cheap substitute to diesel.
  2. Plant oil if used as fuels can provide good lubrication to the engine.
  3. No amount of toxic gases would be emitted, no greenhouse gas emission as the carbon which is taken during the growth of plants would be sent back into the air. This is known as ‘carbon neutrality’.
  4. Honge oil can be grown in wastelands and other lands with low nutritional content. The plant is also a Nitrogen fixer .

However the biggest advantage of using it is the economic aspect. The dependence on honge oil would generate large scale employment in rural areas. The average income of the households will increase. the government which spends thousands of crores providing subsidies on the petroleum goods can use this huge pool of money in other sectors.

Hence we observe that the use of honge oil is definitely  an oil which has the potential to solve our energy needs in the future.

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