The Gram Vikas-CTxGreEn Biodiesel project was launched through a World Bank Development Market Place Award (WBDM 2003) which pioneered in producing biodiesel using oil pressed from locally underutilized seeds to be used directly in all regular diesel engines. The by-products from the process such as oil cake and glycerin were also utilized as organic fertilizer and for making soap respectively.  The biodiesel produced offered agro services like plowing, irrigation by powering devices like tillers, pumps etc. This model of Village Level Biodiesel (VLB) was unique in promoting local production of biodiesel for local use.


  1. Objective
  2. Target Group
  3. Output
  4. Key Features of the Case
  5. Sustainable Financing
  6. Supportive Policies and Institutional Environment
  7. Building Local Capacity and Skills
  8. Community Participation and Including Local Stakeholders
  9. Achieving Co-Benefits
  10. Affordability and Technical Issues
  11. Local Champions
  12. Monitoring and Evaluation
  13. Replicability and Scaling-up
  14. Contact
  15. References and Further Reading



To enable the provision of agro-services in remote rural areas that do not have easy access to energy.


Target Group

Communities living in remote infrastructure-starved villages (Odisha, in the South East coast of India).



  • The project installed a 3.5HP (bio)diesel pumpset in Kinchlingi village of Odisha in  2005 providing water and sanitation until gravity flow water reached in 2008. [1]
  • A biodiesel-fuelled hybrid electrification system was commissioned in 2009 with a 3.5HP gen-set providing 3 hours of lighting each night. [1]
  • The community of Kinchlingi had pumped over 2 million litres of water between 2005-2008 by running pump for 700 hours that used 455 litres of biodiesel over three years. [1]
  • Apart from supporting the villages in agro-services, the biodiesel reactor also produced oil cake as by product which could be used in fields as organic fertilizer thereby maximizing local value addition and reducing cash outflow from the village economy. [2]


Key Features of the Case

  • CTxGreEn in partnership with local NGO Gram Vikas, demonstrated the feasibility of production and use of biodiesel as a model in Kinchlingi village.
  • The production schedule for this very small-scale technology (5L and 20L batch production on a bi-monthly or weekly basis requiring only 20kg to 80kg seeds/batch respectively) was developed in consultation with the community. [3]
  • The package included organic agronomic practices to supplement local forest seeds like Karanja (Pongommia pinnata) and Mahua (Madhuca indica) with Niger (Guizotia abyssinica) an indigenous oil-seed. [4]
  • Community and private fallows belonging to other neighbouring villages were used to grow Niger consecutively.[4]
  • Biodiesel was produced in a pedal-driven reactor that could be maintained by anyone with basic bicycle-maintenance experience. The fuel thus produced was then used in a regular pumpset, replacing diesel fuel. [4]
  • After the gravity flow water system replaced the biodiesel pumping in Kinchlingi after May 2008, biodiesel was continued to be used as a back-up energy source during dry season. The system was also retained to explore the lighting application (through biodiesel-fuelled battery charging) in the community. [4].


Sustainable Financing

World Bank Development Market place 2003 provided the total funding of US$230,000 shared among 4 village units including Kinchlingi and village communities contributed 40% of the infrastructure cost including local materials and unskilled labor [1]. The production cost of biodiesel in 2006 was calculated to be about INR50 (about 1 US dollars) per litre and raw material consisted 80% of the total cost [1]. All All the operating and maintenance costs of the project were met by the community. The agro-services provided by the biodiesel fuelled power tiller and additional co-benefits obtained from converting by products like glycerin into soap also ensured the sustainability of the project [1].


Supportive Policies and Institutional Environment



Building Local Capacity and Skills

A training Centre was established during May- June 2004 before the biodiesel production units were set up in Kinchlingi in November 2004 to demonstrate the potential of biodiesel to serve the agricultural needs.  Regular exchange of information and opinions between the village and the biodiesel project team ensured building local capacity and skills. The villagers were provided training, information and knowledge on machine design, availability and handling of local forest oil seeds. Village youth were also trained for technical aspect of the system. Together, they also identified the land to sow Niger communally [4]


Community Participation and Including Local Stakeholders

The project evolved over by involving community and various stakeholders and by adapting the project to the needs of the villagers. The participation of the villagers in operating the system demonstrates their interest and commitment. The Kinchlingi community decided that they would run the unit by volunteering time (roughly a one hour shift once every month) to produce biodiesel and to operate the pumpset [4].


Achieving Co-Benefits

The project demonstrated the potential for promoting a second crop and converting oil seeds to oil (locally), and also offset the negative health impacts and CO2 emission from the use of fuel-wood and kerosene used during cooking and lighting. Through the use of multipurpose tiller in cultivation, farmers made profit of more than Rs 500/day (about 10 US dollars) [2]. Results from similar studies in other village unit (Tumba) showed a CO2 reduction potential of approximately 1 tCO2 per day through avoided use of diesel and kerosene, and upto 10 tCO2 per day including the avoided slash and burn credits [2]. The project benefitted women particularly, as their time save from fetching water was utilized to run glycerin-based soap making as business activity in the Self Help Group established at Bhairabi [2]. In long-term, the project would accrue benefits in terms of increased agricultural productivity, progressing and stable reversal of shifting agriculture, capacity building, job opportunities and reduction in the cash outflow for purchase of edible oils [4].


Affordability and Technical Issues

The villagers used communal land and private fallows of other neighbouring villages to grow Niger consecutively. Oil constituted over 80% of the raw material cost of biodiesel, while alcohol was 14% and lye 2% and therefore the price of oilseed determined the final cost of biodiesel [4].  In 2006, the village of Kinchlingi harvested about 141kg Niger seeds through voluntary labour and they received back good harvest of about 80kg/acre in one of the four plots. The actual cash outflow for these seeds was nil, and so the cost of biodiesel was only about Indian Rs. 50/L (about one dollar per litre) [4]. One boy from the village was identified for intensive training in order to support the village in the operation and maintenance of the biodiesel unit [4].


Local Champions

The Gram Vikas, the local NGO, played an important role in the execution of the project with the help of Canadian NGO CTxGreEn. CTxGreEn worked with field-based NGOs in implementing their community based renewable projects.  The local NGO, Gram Vikas through their participatory model of project execution recognized the value of local involvement in the project for promoting and facilitating ownership and autonomy within the community. The successful partnership and cooperation between Gram Vikas and CTxGreEn facilitated resource mobilization cross learning and building collaborations.


Monitoring and Evaluation

The project was able to successfully deliver its output as it catered to the need of the village through locally available resources.  The involvement of entire village through a volunteer driven model, utilization of locally available resources, and management by local technician ensured the success and continuity of the project.


Replicability and Scaling-up

The village used the biodiesel produced in Kinchlingi community to pump water for their agro-services in for over 3 years, until gravity flow arrived in April/May 2008. The village wanted to retain VLB in the village for another two years, in spite of having an alternative water supply, as insurance in case the gravity source and the stream supplying their village went dry [2]. In consultation with the CTxGreEn-Gram Vikas team, the village decided to use the equipment for providing lighting. The change over took over 6 months, and in January 2009 biodiesel was used to run a generator and provide lighting to the village of Kinchlingi [2].



The VLB project has been successful in replicating into other locations and scaling up in wider applications.  The proven technical feasibility, strengthened capacity of the local institutions and availability of workshop and trainings helped in the replication of the project in other areas. The experience gained from Kinchlingi village provided valuable lessons for other village units like Kandhabanta, Talataila and Tumba [5].  Scaling out activities were proposed in the State of Orissa and other parts of India in an integrated approach that includes sustainable agriculture, local value addition and biodiesel fuelled livelihoods through the Village Level Biodiesel model [5].



Gram Vikas

Mouda, Berhampur-760002

Orissa, India

Ph: +91-680-2261866

Fax: +91-680-2261862


References and Further Reading

[1]        Practical Action (2009). Expanding Energy Access in Developing Countries: The role of Mechanical Power. Available online at  accessed October 2012.


[2]        Vaidyanathan,G., Sankaranarayanan,R., Prasad, C.S. (2010). Sustaining Transitions and Generating Livelihoods: Lessons from a "Local Production for Local Use" Biodiesel Agro-Booster in Odisha, India. Available online at


[3]        Gram Vikas (2007).  Annual Report 2006-2007. Available online at accessed October 2012.


[4]        Vaidyanathan, G. , Sankaranarayanan, R. (2008). Technology and Economics where people matter.  Energy Network. Available online at accessed October 2012.


[5]        Gram Vikas website


Useful Links


The Gram Vikas-CTxGreEn Biodiesel project






Gram Vikas, an NGO in Orissa, India was the local project implementer. Gram Vikas is voluntary sector organization that has been working in the state of Orissa since 1979. Their current focus is water supply and sanitation for rural habitations as a part of their Movement and Action Network for Transformation of Rural Areas, MANTRA.

CTxGreEn refers to 'Community-based Technologies Exchange fostering Green Energy Partnerships", an NGO based in Canada that works in partnership with grass root organizations to promote community based renewable projects.


Gram Vikas

Mouda, Berhampur-760002

Orissa, India

Ph: +91-680-2261866

Fax: +91-680-2261862



Energy resource:

  • Biofuel

Sub type:

  • Biodiesel


  • Agriculture
  • Energy supply


  • Heating
  • Irrigation
  • Pumping


  • Off-Grid

Targeted area:

  • Rural

Geographical scope:


Project status:

Completed project

Project start:


End date:


Implementing approach:


Funding Type:

  • Grant

Budget (Euro):