Off-Grid Prospects of Biofuel-Based Rural Electrification in India

Author(s): Ravindra Verma*, Nand K. Sah, Dinesh K. Sharma, Prakash S. Bisen.

Journal Name: Current Alternative Energy

Volume 3 , Issue 1 , 2019

Become EABM
Become Reviewer

Graphical Abstract:


Tapping non-conventional renewable energy resources for generation of electricity is the need of the hour, particularly in the developing countries. Renewable energy from photovoltaic, wind turbines and small hydroelectricity plants is eco-friendly and highly desirable for all countries. But, for the developing countries, such as, Sub-Sahara Africa where hardly 14.2% of rural electrification is available, these resources may prove a lifeline. Biofuels may be used as another safe resource for an off-grid electricity generation that covers about 60% of the requirement in Brazil. It may be a choice area for this purpose on small scales akin to the mini-grid system, particularly in the remote rural belts. It has been observed that Jatropha-derived fatty acid (de-esterified oil) is quite suitable for off-grid rural electrification in India. Bio-methanation of press cake (from Jatropha and other oilseeds) is another suitable material for harnessing off-grid electricity at a reduced level of environmental pollution. Several studies, Government reports, NGO projects and field studies show that the objective of rural electrification stands a bright prospect. It was found that there is a major gap in the available literature on the rural electrification through Jatropha cultivation. There is a lack of knowledge of how to make the best possible use of Jatropha for energy generation in India. This endeavor evaluates an Indian perspective of how biofuel-based off-grid electrification may brighten energy scenario, primarily in the rural habitats that comprise over 75% here. It has been also found that the costing of biodiesel is much cheaper than the petroleum-based diesel in near future.

Keywords: Biofuel, biogas, Bio-methanation, Jatropha curcas, rural electrification, renewable energy.

F.S. Javadi, B. Rismanchi, M. Sarraf, O. Afshar, R. Saidur, H.W. Ping, and N.A. Rahim, "Global policy of rural electrification", Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev., vol. 19, pp. 402-416, 2013.
J.Z. Mark, and A. Mark, "Providing all global energy with wind, water, and solar power, Part I: Technologies, energy resources, quantities and areas of infrastructure, and materials", Energy Policy, vol. 39, pp. 1154-1169, 2011.
J.Z. Mark, and A. Mark, "A path to sustainable energy by 2030", Sci. Am., vol. 301, pp. 58-65, 2009.
D.A. Mark, and Z.J. Mark, "Providing all global energy with wind, water, and solar power, Part II: Reliability, system and transmission costs, and policies", Energy Policy, vol. 39, pp. 1170-1190, 2011.
T.K. Baul, D. Datta, and A. Alam, "A comparative study on household level energy consumption and related emissions from renewable (biomass) and non-renewable energy sources in Bangladesh", Energy Policy, vol. 114, pp. 598-608, 2018.
Pereira M., "Giannini, J.A. Sena, M. Aurélio V. Freitas, and N.F. Da Silva. “Evaluation of the impact of access to electricity: A comparative analysis of South Africa, China, India and Brazil", Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev., vol. 15, pp. 1427-1441, 2011.
H.O. David, "Biomass energy", In: Renewable energy, pp. 33-59. 1993
U. Johannes, "Grid and off-grid electrification: An integrated model with applications to India", Energy Sustain. Dev., vol. 19, pp. 66-71, 2014.
B.C. Subhes, "Review of alternative methodologies for analysing off-grid electricity supply", Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev., vol. 16, pp. 677-694, 2012.
P. Debajit, and G.K. Sarangi, "Renewable energy based mini-grids for enhancing electricity access: Experiences and lessons from India", In: Green Energy for Sustainable Development (ICUE), 2014 International Conference and Utility Exhibition on , pp. 1-8 IEEE. 2014
P. Debajit, and A. Chaurey, "Off-grid rural electrification experiences from South Asia: Status and best practices", Energy Sustain. Dev., vol. 15, pp. 266-276, 2011.
P. Debajit, and A. Chaurey, "Off-grid rural electrification experiences from South Asia", In: Rural electrification through decentralised off-grid systems in developing countries., pp. 75-104.Springer, London,, 2013
J. Valencia, and M. Adriana, "Analysis of Decision-Making for Off-Grid Rural Electrification in Colombia", In: Decentralized Solutions for Developing Economies: Addressing Energy Poverty Through Innovation, pp. 257-265. Springer International Publishing, , 2015.
M. Brijesh, and S. Silveira, "Renewable energy markets in rural electrification: Country case Nepal", Energy Sustain. Dev., vol. 16, pp. 168-178, 2012.
M. Brijesh, and S. Silveira, "Alternative pathways for providing access to electricity in developing countries", Renew. Energy, vol. 57, pp. 299-310, 2013.
D.C. Sharma, "Transforming rural lives through decentralized green power", Futures, vol. 39, pp. 583-596, 2007.
K. Atul, P. Mohanty, D. Palit, and A. Chaurey, "Approach for standardization of off-grid electrification projects", Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev., vol. 13, pp. 1946-1956, 2009.
P. Sara, D. Leiva, I. López‐García, M.D. Redel‐Macías, and M.P. Dorado, "Latest trends in feedstocks for biodiesel production", Biofuels Bioprod. Biorefin., vol. 8, pp. 126-143, 2014.
P. Ben, "The social and environmental impacts of biofuels in Asia: An overview", Appl. Energy, vol. 86, pp. S21-S29, 2009.
D.M. Manjari, P. Mukherjee, B. Ghosh, and T. Baran, "In vitro clonal propagation of biodiesel plant (Jatropha curcas L.)", Curr. Sci., pp. 1438-1442, 2007.
K. Ashwani, and S. Sharma, "An evaluation of multipurpose oil seed crop for industrial uses (Jatropha curcas L.): A review", Ind. Crops Prod., vol. 28, pp. 1-10, 2008.
P. Mukherjee, "Remote Village Electrification through the Biofuel Route.Winrock international India’s Experience; 4th international conference on Biofuel, Feb", 7-8, 2008, p. no. 80-81
G.S. Michael, R. Zah, S. Bhatacharjee, M. Classen, P. Mukherjee, and R. Widmer, "Life cycle assessment of village electrification based on straight jatropha oil in Chhattisgarh, India", Biomass Bioenergy, vol. 34, pp. 347-355, 2010.
D. Puneet, and J.R.R. Alavalapati, "Economic feasibility of electricity production from energy plantations present on community-managed forestlands in Madhya Pradesh, India", Energy Policy, vol. 37, pp. 352-360, 2010.
P. Debajit, B.K. Sovacool, C. Cooper, D. Zoppo, J. Eidsness, M. Crafton, K. Johnson, and S. Clarke, "The trials and tribulations of the Village Energy Security Programme (VESP) in India", Energy Policy, vol. 57, pp. 407-417, 2013.
M. Markus, T. Mårlind, and E.O. Ahlgren, "Evaluation of Indian rural solar electrification: A case study in Chhattisgarh", Energy Sustain. Dev., vol. 16, pp. 486-492, 2012.
S.C. Bhattacharyya, and D. Palit, "Mini-grid based off-grid electrification to enhance electricity access in developing countries: What policies may be required?", Energy Policy, vol. 94, pp. 166-178, 2016.
Y. Edgar, A. Ramírez, A. Uribe, E. Castillo, and A. Faaij, "Unravelling the potential of energy efficiency in the Colombian oil industry", J. Clean. Prod., vol. 176, pp. 604-628, 2018.
K.D. Maher, and D.C. Bressler, "Pyrolysis of triglyceride materials for the production of renewable fuels and chemicals", Bioresour. Technol., vol. 98, pp. 2351-2368, 2007.
S.N. Naik, V.V. Goud, P.K. Rout, and A.K. Dalai, "Production of first and second generation biofuels: A comprehensive review", Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev., vol. 14, pp. 578-597, 2010.
C.E. Goering, A.W. Schwab, M.J. Daugherty, E.H. Pryde, and A.J. Heakin, "Fuel properties of eleven vegetable oils", Trans. ASAE, vol. 25, pp. 1472-1477, 1982.
E. Şükran, M.A. Ceviz, and H. Temur, "Comparative engine characteristics of biodiesels from hazelnut, corn, soybean, canola and sunflower oils on DI diesel engine", Renew. Energy, vol. 119, pp. 142-151, 2018.
"Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST). ", Biofuel Feedstocks: The Risk of Future Invasions QTA2007-1, Council for Agricultural Science,andTechnology,Ames,IA,Nov,, 2008.
A. Hanim, B10 mandate to address biodiesel woes?. The Star Online: Retrieved 25 February 2013
"Malaysia Biofuels Annual 2012 (Report). 3 August (2012). Retrieved 25 February 2013",
S. Jaichandar, and K. Annamalai, "Comparative analysis of performance and emission characteristics of di-diesel engine using jatropha and pongamia biodiesel as fuels", J. Mech. Eng., , vol. 15, pp. 98-114, 2018.
P.D. Prafulla, and S. Deng, "Optimization of biodiesel production from edible and non-edible vegetable oils", Fuel, vol. 88, pp. 1302-1306, 2009.
K.A. Subramanian, S.K. Singal, M. Saxena, and S. Singhal, "Utilization of liquid biofuels in automotive diesel engines: An Indian perspective", Biomass Bioenergy, vol. 29, pp. 65-72, 2005.
R. Joana, I. Miranda, J. Gominho, M. Vasconcelos, G. Barradas, H. Pereira, F. Bianchi-de-Aguiar, and S. Ferreira-Dias, "Variability in oil content and composition and storage stability of seeds from Jatropha curcas L. grown in Mozambique", Ind. Crops Prod., vol. 50, pp. 828-837, 2013.
R.P.S. Deswal, N. Kaushik, N. Panwar, L. Rawat, and K.S. Bangarwa, Seed viability and oil content in seeds of Pongamia pinnata of five sources stored at different moisture and temperature regimes Res. Crop., vol. 16. . 2015
J.M.I.J.R. Brown, W. Senadeera, N. Ashwath, C. Laing, J. Leski-Taylor, and M.G. Rasul, "Optimisation of bio-oil extraction process from beauty leaf (Calophyllum inophyllum) oil seed as a second generation biodiesel source", Proc. Eng., vol. 56, pp. 619-624, 2013.
K.S. Kittigowittana, W.P. Krisdaphong, A. Jimtaisong, and N. Saewan, "Fatty acid composition and biological activities of seed oil from rubber (Hevea brasiliensis) cultivar RRIM 600", Int. J. Appl. Res. Nat. Prod., vol. 6, pp. 1-7, 2013.
P.Z.W.M. Moh, L.F. Razon, G. Knothe, Z. Ilham, F. Goembira, C.F. Madrazo, S.A. Roces, and S. Saka, "Evaluation of Indian milkweed (Calotropis gigantea) seed oil as alternative feedstock for biodiesel", Ind. Crops Prod., vol. 54, pp. 226-232, 2014.
M. Fangrui, and M.A. Hanna, "Biodiesel production: A review", Bioresour. Technol., vol. 70, pp. 1-15, 1999.
A. Demirbas, Vegetable Oils and Animal Fats. Biodiesel: A Realistic Fuel Alternative for Diesel Engines., Biodiesel, pp. 65-110. 2008
K.A. Roger, J. Jo, and C.L. Peterson, "A rapid engine test to measure injector fouling in diesel engines using vegetable oil fuels", J. Am. Oil Chem. Soc., vol. 62, pp. 1563-1564, 1985.
T.W. Ryan, L.G. Dodge, and T.J. Callahan, "The effects of vegetable oil properties on injection and combustion in two different diesel engines", J. Am. Oil Chem. Soc., vol. 61, pp. 1610-1619, 1984.
K. Gerhard, R.O. Dunn, and M.O. Bagby, "Biodiesel: The use of vegetable oils and their derivatives as alternative diesel fuels", In ACS symposium series, vol. 666, pp. 172-208. Washington, DC: American Chemical Society, 1974-1997.,
I. Yukitsugu, and R. Takeuchi, "Transesterified curcas oil blends for farm diesel engines".Trans. ASAE30, vol. 3, pp. 605-0609, 1987
C. Akanksha, M. Ranganathan, and P. Mohanty, "Electricity access for geographically disadvantaged rural communities- Technology and policy insights", Energy Policy, vol. 32, pp. 1693-1705, 2004.
G. Van Jon, "Biodiesel processing and production", Fuel Process. Technol., vol. 86, pp. 1097-1107, 2005.
B. Mustafa, and H. Balat, "Progress in biodiesel processing", Appl. Energy, vol. 87, pp. 1815-1835, 2010.
R.L. Jeffrey, "Feasibility of biodiesel for rural electrification in India", Forest, vol. 150, p. 15, 2000.
R. Verma, Mechanical and farm optimization of bio-diesel production from jatropha curcas, an ideal plant model as a renewable energy sources.MTech thesis, RGPV, Bhopal, 2004
FAO Seed, "and Plant Genetic Resources Service Rome, Italy,", 2013
B. Joel, C. Brunschwig, A. Chapuis, O. Changotade, S.S. Sidibe, E.S. Noumi, and P. Girard, "Characteristics of vegetable oils for use as fuel in stationary diesel engines-Towards specifications for a standard in West Africa", Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev., vol. 22, pp. 580-597, 2013.
L.C. Meher, D.V. Sagar, and S.N. Naik, "Technical aspects of biodiesel production by transesterification- A review", Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev., vol. 10, pp. 248-268, 2006.
N. Novizar, N. Ramli, D. Mangunwidjaja, E. Hambali, D. Sri Yuliani, M.A. Yarmo, and J. Salimon, "Extraction, transesterification and process control in biodiesel production from Jatropha curcas", Eur. J. Lipid Sci. Technol., vol. 111, pp. 1185-1200, 2009.
H. Wolf, R.J. Hamilton, and G. Calliauw, Eds., Edible oil processing., John Wiley & Sons, 2013.
A. Dan, "“A primer on oils processing technology”, Baileys Indus", Oil Fat Prod., vol. 4, pp. 31-45, 2005.
M. Mofijur, H.H. Masjuki, M.A. Kalam, and A.E. Atabani, "Evaluation of biodiesel blending, engine performance and emissions characteristics of Jatropha curcas methyl ester: Malaysian perspective", Energy, vol. 55, pp. 879-887, 2013.
R. Mofijur, M.H. Hassan, M.A. Kalam, A.E. Atabani, L.A. Memon, and S.M.A. Rahman, "Performance and emission analysis of Jatropha curcas and Moringa oleifera methyl ester fuel blends in a multi-cylinder diesel engine", J. Clean. Prod., vol. 65, pp. 304-310, 2014.
W.M.J. Achten, L. Verchot, Y.J. Franken, E. Mathijs, V. Pal Singh, R. Aerts, and B. Muys, "Jatropha bio-diesel production and use", Biomass Bioenergy, vol. 32, pp. 1063-1084, 2008.
R.N. Singh, D.K. Vyas, N.S.L. Srivastava, and M. Narra, "SPRERI experience on holistic approach to utilize all parts of Jatropha curcas fruit for energy", Renew. Energy, vol. 33, pp. 1868-1873, 2008.
S. Ruth, G. Foidl, N. Foidl, G.M. Gübitz, R.M. Lafferty, V.M.V. Arbizu, and W. Steiner, "Biogas production from Jatropha curcas press-cake", Appl. Biochem. Biotechnol., vol. 63, p. 457, 1997.
D. Mousumi, and P.S. Bisen, "Jatropha curcas L., a multipurpose stress resistant plant with a potential for ethnomedicine and renewable energy", Curr. Pharm. Biotechnol., vol. 9, pp. 288-306, 2008.
S.C. Antoine, "Energy is energy: Segregation of renewable and fossil fuels impedes energy security goals", South Tex. Law Rev., vol. 55, p. 471, 2013.
M.S. Dhanya, N. Gupta, and H.C. Joshi, "Biogas potentiality of agro-wastes Jatropha fruit coat", World Acad. Sci. Eng. Technol. Int. J. Environ. Chem. Ecologic. Geologic. Geophysic. Eng., vol. 3, pp. 70-74, 2009.
A.M.J. Wouter, J. Almeida, V. Fobelets, E. Bolle, E. Mathijs, V.P. Singh, D.N. Tewari, L.V. Verchot, and B. Muys, "Life cycle assessment of Jatropha biodiesel as transportation fuel in rural India", Appl. Energy, vol. 87, pp. 3652-3660, 2010.
M.N. Nirendra, and R.R. Raine, "A study of the emissions of a dual fuel engine operating with alternative gaseous fuels No. 2008-01- 1394. SAE Technical Paper", 2008
S. Maji, A. Pal, and B.B. Arora, Use of CNG and diesel in CI engines in dual fuel mode No. 2008-28-0072. SAE Technical Paper.. 2008
S. Jie, J. Qin, and M. Yao, "Turbocharged diesel/CNG dual-fuel engines with intercooler: combustion, emissions and performance. No. 2003-01-3082. SAE Technical Paper", 2003
Y.S. Hyun, and C.S. Lee, "Experimental investigation on the combustion and exhaust emission characteristics of biogas- Biodiesel dual-fuel combustion in a CI engine", Fuel Process. Technol., vol. 92, pp. 992-1000, 2011.
C.C.M. Luijten, and E. Kerkhof, "Jatropha oil and biogas in a dual fuel CI engine for rural electrification", Energy Convers. Manage., vol. 52, pp. 1426-1438, 2011.
Y. Franken, "“Dual fuel technology: Combined use of Jatropha oil and biogas in a diesel engine” FACT Foundation, Netherlands ,2006", available at,,
J. Visser, and T. Adriaans, "“Anaerobic digestion of jatropha curcas press cake” FACT Fuels Foundation, 0656521-R02, pp-10,", 2007
A. Nafisa, A.K. Kurchania, and S. Babel, "Bio-methanisation of Jatropha curcas defatted waste", J. Eng. Technol. Res., vol. 2, pp. 38-43, 2010.
M. Indradip, and S.P.G. Chaudhuri, "Remote village electrification plan through renewable energy in the Islands of Indian Sundarbans", In: International Solar Energy Society UK Section- Conference-c, vol. 85, p. 315,, 2006.
A. Michaël, P. Bayer, S.P. Harish, and J. Urpelainen, "Economics of household technology adoption in developing countries: Evidence from solar technology adoption in rural India", Energy Econ., vol. 72, pp. 35-46, 2018.
K. Amit, L. Hubert-Moy, S. Buvaneshwari, M. Sekhar, L. Ruiz, S. Bandyopadhyay, and S. Corgne, "Irrigation history estimation using multitemporal Landsat satellite Images: Application to an intensive groundwater irrigated agricultural watershed in India", Remote Sens., vol. 10, pp. 893-893, 2018.
K.D. Pralhaddas, and I.J. Nagrath, Modern power system analysis., Tata McGraw-Hill Education, 2011.
C. Elizabeth, J. Dunkerley, and W. Ramsay, Household energy and the poor in the third world., Routledge, 2015.
K. Kamil, "Energy services and energy poverty for sustainable rural development", Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev., vol. 15, pp. 936-947, 2011.
J. Raja, P.A. Raj, and S. Rajasekar, Practices in Power System Management in India., Springer, 2018.
L. Phil, B. Karimi, Y. Shan, and W. Rasdorf, Comparing the economic, energy, and environmental impacts of biodiesel versus petroleum diesel fuel use in construction equipment.Int. J. Construc. Educat. Res., pp. 1-15,, 2018
K. Gautam, "Is it really the end of internal combustion engines and petroleum in transport?", Appl. Energy, vol. 225, pp. 965-974, 2018.
K. Gautam, and B. Johansson, "“Gasoline compression ignition approach to efficient, clean and affordable future engines”, Proc. Institut. Mech. Eng. Part D J", Automot. Eng., vol. 232, pp. 118-138, 2018.

Rights & PermissionsPrintExport Cite as

Article Details

Year: 2019
Page: [18 - 26]
Pages: 9
DOI: 10.2174/2405463103666190211162544

Article Metrics

PDF: 8