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Author Topic: Jatropha curcushas : plant to diesel fuel  (Read 7239 times)

mike90045

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Jatropha curcushas : plant to diesel fuel
« on: July 31, 2007, 10:13:21 PM »
Poison plant could help to cure the planet
excerpt            Ben Macintyre

The jatropha bush seems an unlikely prize in the hunt for alternative 
energy, being an ugly, fast-growing and poisonous weed. Hitherto, its 
use to humanity has principally been as a remedy for constipation. 
Very soon, however, it may be powering your car.

Almost overnight, the unloved Jatropha curcushas become an 
agricultural and economic celebrity, with the discovery that it may be 
the ideal biofuel crop, an alternative to fossil fuels for a world 
dangerously dependent on oil supplies and deeply alarmed by the 
effects of global warming.

The hardy jatropha, resilient to pests and resistant to drought, 
produces seeds with up to 40 per cent oil content. When the seeds are 
crushed, the resulting jatropha oil can be burnt in a standard diesel 
car, while the residue can also be processed into biomass to power 
electricity plants.
  - pause  excerpt.


Of course, nearly all parts of plant are posion, and it's banned in Australia 
planted around our listers, it would function as well as barbed wire fence.
 I wonder if it likes frost ??
 Mike.




cntiinued:
The hardy jatropha, resilient to pests and resistant to drought, 
produces seeds with up to 40 per cent oil content. When the seeds are 
crushed, the resulting jatropha oil can be burnt in a standard diesel 
car, while the residue can also be processed into biomass to power 
electricity plants.

As the search for alternative energy sources gathers pace and urgency, 
the jatropha has provoked something like a gold rush. Last week BP 
announced that it was investing almost £32 million in a jatropha joint 
venture with the British biofuels company D1 Oils.

Even Bob Geldof has stamped his cachet on jatropha, by becoming a 
special adviser to Helius Energy, a British company developing the use 
of jatropha as an alternative to fossil fuels. Lex Worrall, its chief 
executive, says: ?Every hectare can produce 2.7 tonnes of oil and 
about 4 tonnes of biomass. Every 8,000 hectares of the plant can run a 
1.5 megawatt station, enough to power 2,500 homes.?

Jatropha grows in tropical and subtropical climates. Whereas other 
feed-stocks for biofuel, such as palm oil, rape seed oil or corn for 
ethanol, require reasonable soils on which other crops might be grown, 
jatropha is a tough survivor prepared to put down roots almost anywhere.

Scientists say that it can grow in the poorest wasteland, generating 
topsoil and helping to stall erosion, but also absorbing carbon 
dioxide as it grows, thus making it carbon-neutral even when burnt. A 
jatropha bush can live for up to 50 years, producing oil in its second 
year of growth, and survive up to three years of consecutive drought.

In India about 11 million hectares have been identified as potential 
land on which to grow jatropha. The first jatropha-fuelled power 
station is expected to begin supplying electricity in Swaziland in 
three years. Meanwhile, companies from Europe and India have begun 
buying up land in Africa as potential jatropha plantations.

Jatropha plantations have been laid out on either side of the railway 
between Bombay and Delhi, and the train is said to run on more than 15 
per cent biofuel. Backers say that the plant can produce four times 
more fuel per hectare than soya, and ten times more than corn. ?Those 
who are working with jatropha,? Sanju Khan, a site manager for D1 
Oils, told the BBC, ?are working with the new generation crop, 
developing a crop from a wild plant ? which is hugely exciting.?

Jatropha, a native of Central America, was brought to Europe by 
Portuguese explorers in the 16th century and has since spread 
worldwide, even though, until recently, it had few uses: malaria 
treatment, a windbreak for animals, live fencing and candle-mak-ing. 
An ingredient in folk remedies around the world, it earned the 
nickname ?physic nut?, but its sap is a skin irritant, and ingesting 
three untreated seeds can kill a person.

Jatropha has also found a strong supporter in Sir Nicholas Stern, the 
government economist who emphasised the dangers of global warming in a 
report this year. He recently advised South Africa to ?look for 
biofuel technologies that can be grown on marginal land, perhaps 
jatropha?.

However, some fear that in areas dependent on subsistence farming it 
could force out food crops, increasing the risk of famine.

Some countries are also cautious for other reasons: last year Western 
Australia banned the plant as invasive and highly toxic to people and 
animals.

Yet a combination of economic, climatic and political factors have 
made the search for a more effective biofuel a priority among energy 
companies. New regulations in Britain require that biofuels comprise 5 
per cent of the transport fuel mix by 2010, and the EU has mandated 
that by 2020 all cars must run on 20 per cent biodiesel. Biodiesel 
reduces carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 80 per cent compared with 
petroleum diesel, according to the US Energy Department.

Under the deal between BP and D1, £80 million will be invested in 
jatropha over the next five years, with plantations in India, southern 
Africa and SouthEast Asia. There are no exact figures for the amount 
of land already under jatropha cultivation, but the area is expanding 
fast. China is planning an 80,000-acre plantation in Sichuan, and the 
BPD1 team hopes to have a million hectares under cultivation over the 
next four years.

Jatropha has long been prized for its medicinal qualities. Now it 
might just help to cure the planet.

- D1 Oils, the UK company leading the jatropha revolution, is growing 
430,000 acres of the plant to feed its biodiesel operation on Teesside 
? 44,000 acres more than three months ago, after a huge planting 
programme in India. It has also planted two 1,235-acre trial sites 
this year in West Java, Indonesia. If successful, these will become a 
25,000-acre plantation. Elloitt Mannis, the chief executive, says that 
the aim is to develop energy ?from the earth to the engine?.

Jatropha: costs and benefits

- Jatropha needs at least 600mm (23in) of rain a year to thrive. 
However, it can survive three consecutive years of drought by dropping 
its leaves

- It is excellent at preventing soil erosion, and the leaves that it 
drops act as soil-enriching mulch

- The plant prefers alkaline soils

- The cost of 1,000 jatropha saplings (enough for one acre) in 
Pakistan is about £50, or 5p each

- The cost of 1kg of jatropha seeds in India is the equivalent of 
about 7p. Each jatropha seedling should be given an area two metres 
square.

- 20 per cent of seedlings planted will not survive

- Jatropha seedlings yield seeds in the first year after plantation




rpg52

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Re: Jatropha curcushas : plant to diesel fuel
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2007, 02:48:01 AM »
Alianthus, Scotch Broom, Himilayan Blackberry, Black Locust  are a few of the "wonder" plants brought into my area as ornamentals, useful timber, food source, etc. over the last couple hundred years.  I'd be very careful of any more miracle plants that grow on nothing, need no care, etc., etc., especially if it is already recognized as "poisonous and ugly". 

: . . .it earned the nickname ?physic nut?, but its sap is a skin irritant, and ingesting three untreated seeds can kill a person."

Ask someone from the Southeast US about how the miracle plant Kudzu turned out.  Don't want to rain on anyone's parade, just be careful what you wish for.     ;D
Ray
« Last Edit: August 01, 2007, 02:52:39 AM by rpg52 »
PS Listeroid 6/1, 5 kW ST, Detroit Diesel 3-71, Belsaw sawmill, 12 kW ST head, '71 GMC 3/4 T, '79 GMC 1T, '59 IH T-340

biobill

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Re: Jatropha curcushas : plant to diesel fuel
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2007, 12:59:47 PM »
 "....... and the EU has mandated that by 2020 all cars must run on 20 per cent biodiesel."

  All cars or just the diesels??   The diesels already will.  Perhaps they're talking manufacturers certification.

  Kinda scarry in a way, watching watching big business jump on the bio band wagon. Land is probably dirt cheap in arid Africa. Can you buy a country outright?
Off grid since 1990
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6/1 Metro IDI running barn & biodiesel processer
VW 1.6 diesels all over the place
Isuzu Boxtruck, Ford Backhoe, all running on biodiesel
Needs diesel lawnmower & chainsaw

Doug

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Re: Jatropha curcushas : plant to diesel fuel
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2007, 04:08:35 AM »
Biofuel is a little like fine Rye, a little in moderation is a fine thing......

Doug
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wscook

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Re: Jatropha curcushas : plant to diesel fuel
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2007, 01:17:49 AM »
Doug is certainly right about that!
W S Cook
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rosietheriviter

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Re: Jatropha curcushas : plant to diesel fuel
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2007, 04:08:01 PM »
Of course, nearly all parts of plant are posion, and it's banned in Australia 
planted around our listers, it would function as well as barbed wire fence.
 I wonder if it likes frost ??
 Mike.

Mike,

The Jatropha is NOT frost hardy.

Rose is Rose
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