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Biodiésel: the Indian Experience

2006

Biodiesel has received enormous publicity both in the developing and developed world with a result that it is now being considered as one of the alternatives that may partially substitute the fossil Diesel fuel. It has received major attention because of the ever increasing crude oil prices, since the higher the crude price is, the better economic viability result for biodiesel marketing. Biodiesel can be defined as an ester of long chain fatty acids derived from vegetable oils or other natural sources. Vegetable oils are mainly constituted of triglycerides of long chain fatty acids. Main applications of vegetable oils are Food (Cooking), Cosmetics & Chemicals, Lighting and to some extent Fuel. There may be several specific applications to the geographic location, availability and acceptability of the vegetable oils. Historically Triglycerides have always been in short supply. This shortage has been reduced to a certain extent by few countries that have made persistent scientific efforts over the last few decades to increase the yields of the oil producing plants. These operations are largely mechanised and well integrated within the global markets. But countries like India, which is the second most populous in the world, are net importers of vegetable oils in order to fulfil several applications, especially cooking. The average imports of vegetable oils in India are 40-50 million tonnes per annum; only behind the crude import bill. [Introducción]

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