Biodiesel Production for Sustainable Agriculture

  • Varsha Sharma
  • Kishan G. RamawatEmail author
  • B. L. Choudhary
Part of the Sustainable Agriculture Reviews book series (SARV, volume 11)


Biodiesel is produced by transesterification of edible and non-edible oils obtained from a wide range of plants. Biodiesel has developed rapidly as an eco-friendly, renewable, alternative source of energy compared to the limited resources of fossil fuels. There are wide ranging socio-economic implications of biodiesel for rural population in developing countries because biodiesel is an agriculture-based industrial product from plants. Diversion of edible oil for biodiesel, land use for biodiesel crops, and technology for biodiesel production are issues to be addressed. The use of edible and non-edible crops for biodiesel production and sustainability are discussed in this article. Biodiesel, amounting to about 300,000 barrels per day is mainly produced from edible oils and small quantities from non-edible oils from Jatropha curcas. Jatropha curcas is a multipurpose, drought-resistant, biofuel tree originating from Central and South America, though now growing pantropic. Jatropha plants produce up to 6.5 t seeds and yield about 2,000 L oil per hectare. Therefore agrotechnologies have to be developed towards mechanization and cost reduction to make an industrial product. A debate has already been started about use of edible oil for the production of biodiesel considering impact on land usage, prices of edible oil and benefits to farmers. The other potential non-edible oil crops are castor, neem and karanj (Pongamia). Therefore, a rational policy about biodiesel crops has to be evolved looking to the various needs of a particular country. Use of edible oil crops like soybeans, rapeseeds, sunflower and palm oil for non-edible purpose is a matter of debate from socio-economic aspect as population of many countries is malnourished. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations emphasizes that the versatility of Jatropha may make it useful in poor, remote areas of the world.


Biodiesel Edible oil Glycine max Jatropha Non-edible oils 



European Union


Food and Agriculture Organization


United Nations


United States of America



This work was supported by financial assistance from University Grants Commission-Departmental Research Program (UGC-DRS) under special assistance program for medicinal plant research to K.G. Ramawat. V. Sharma thanks to UGC, New Delhi for financial assistance in the form of SRF.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Varsha Sharma
    • 1
  • Kishan G. Ramawat
    • 1
    Email author
  • B. L. Choudhary
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Biomolecular Technology, Department of BotanyM. L. Sukhadia UniversityUdaipurIndia

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