Jatropha for Biodiesel (Google Alert / Kasper)

Read at : Google Alert / desertification


Jatropha for Biodiesel

I know all of you are wondering why I am writing about a little known plant called “Jatropha curcas“. Well… it all has to do with making biodiesel and the production of electricity using biodiesel as a fuel. This is to inform you of a source of vegetable oil that is relatively unknown in the United States and North America. The European community has already seen the light as have some Asian, African, Indian, and South American countries. Running engines on vegetable oil is nothing new… did you know that Rudolf Diesel originally designed his engine to run on peanut oil? Maybe the US has not seen the light yet because we are mostly engaged in the growing of food crops and oils like soybean oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, and peanut oil. All these oils are edible and thus fetch high prices. After all, why should US farmers grow a completely inedible plant!? Used cooking oil is great for the “do it yourself” biodiesel enthusiast, but there is not enough supply of used cooking oil to supply a whole nation. This is where Jatropha comes in…Jatropha has the following benefits when looked at from the fuel production angle:

* it costs almost nothing to grow
* it is drought resistant
* it can be grown almost anywhere – even in sandy, saline, or otherwise infertile soil
* it is easy to propagate (a cutting simply pushed into the ground will take root)
* it is not invasive, or spreading, or damaging like kudzu
* it is capable of stabilizing sand dunes, acting as a windbreak, and combating desertification
* it naturally repels both animals and insects
* it lives for over 50 years producing seeds all the time
* it is frost hardy (does not like hard freezes)
* it does not exhaust the nutrients in the land
* it does not require expensive crop rotation
* it does not require fertilizers
* it grows quickly and establishes itself easily
* it has a high yield (Jatropha can yield about 1,000 barrels of oil per year per square mile – oil content of the seed is 55-60%)
* no displacement of food crops is necessary
* it is great for developing countries in terms of energy and jobs
* the biodiesel byproduct, glycerine, is profitable in itself
* the waste plant mass after oil extraction can be used as a fertilizer
* the plant itself recycles 100% of the CO2 emissions produced by burning the biodiesel

That’s a whole lot of benefit with little or no disadvantages!

(continued)For more information on making biodiesel and generating electricity using biodiesel, visit Bill Anderson’s website at http://www.biodieselmake.com.

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

One thought on “Jatropha for Biodiesel (Google Alert / Kasper)”

  1. this is great
    my friends and i are deeply involved in promoting jatropha curcas farming in Kenay-africa since we have loads of lands lying idle.
    keep up good work

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