Company plans economic growth of farmers
An established industrialist and philanthropist from Gondia, has ambitious plan to produce clean fuel from grass. The fuel being produced from selected grass species will be 50% cheaper compared to traditional fuel (petrol and diesel) and will also curtail pollution by more than half.
Producing bio-fuel from plants like Jatropa, Karanj (Pongamia Pinnata) was being discussed for a long time. But extracting the fuel from grass, through co-operative company of farmers, is a novel idea conceived by directors of Ruchi Biochemicals.
One of the Directors Mahendra Thakur stated that the project is aimed at empowering farmers who can earn good money by producing grass on part of their agriculture land. The grass is the same required as fodder for their animals. The farmers, besides growing fodder for their animals, would be able to earn by using the remaining one for producing fuel for their vehicles. Thakur stated that he has plans to install machinery for preliminary processing of grass in about 100 villages. This processed material will be transported to the main unit for further refining of the fuel.
The company has plans to start production latest by January 26, 2022. The byproduct can be used as organic manure, which will be available to the farmer members of the company on priority basis. The farmers can produce a minimum of 100 tonnes of grass in one acre of land. The first crop can be harvested within three months and subsequent one with a gap of two months. The company, to start with the production, will require about 100 tonnes of grass per day, which will be increased upto 1 lakh tonnes per day.
Thakur stated that the variety of grass required as raw material include Napier, Jaywant, Gunwant and Coimbatore 36. Research on these varieties has been done by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada Univertsity. The biomass is high and the grass leaves are devoid of sharp edges. It is easy for consumption by the cattle. Harvesting is also injury-less.
The Cleanfuel will be produced by fermentation of the biomass and further refining it for use in two-wheelers and four-wheelers. Further refining can produce fuel for aircrafts also, Thakur stated. The company is situated about 17 kms from Gondia, in Raipur village.
The modification in the vehicle for using this cheaper fuel, will be done by installing a small kit. The company also plans to enter into a contract with company for producing the kits at low cost.
Farmers will be imparted training in cultivation of the grass required as raw material. The farmers will be members of the Gondwana Power Producer Company and will be suppliers of raw material to Meera Cleanfuel. This is an effort to improve the farmers’ economic condition, Thakur said. The training and machinery for preliminary processing will be responsibility of the company. Selected persons from the villages will be trained in operating the machinery.
The company aims to promote organic farming. In its 600 acres of land in Raipur, crops and fruits are grown. This include Dragon Fruit, which is in great demand as immunity booster.
Mahendra Thakur and his colleagues are hopeful that besides producing cheaper, environment friendly fuel, the project will help in lifting economic condition of farmers in the region. Organic farming is being promoted as Ruchi Biochemicals produces and uses bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides.