Sri Lanka starts small with bio-fuels

Aug 01, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lankan renewable energy experts have started experimenting with bio-fuel production as an alternative to expensive fossil fuels but are constrained by lack of funds and land for commercial production. A pilot project on bio diesel initiated in Nikaweratiya in the north western province will soon be converted to a community project, Rohitha Ananda, renewable energy project manager at Practical Action told LBO.

The project was started with the help of the universities of Peradeniya and Ruhuna and Practical Action, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO).

The project is to provide bio diesel to run small tractors, water pumps and generate electricity in villages, Ananda said.

However, producing bio diesel in a commercial capacity will require more work and time, researchers say.

“Most of the people in the bio-fuel field have lots of big hopes but I think we have to test it before we say anything because the reality is not that,” Ananda says.

The government must channel more funds in to research and development initiatives to promote investments and experimentation in the bio fuel sector, says C S Kalpage, senior lecturer, department of chemical and process engineering from the Pera