Live Energies was contracted in 2008 by a major automobile company based in Germany to manage a project to evaluate the economy of Jatropha cultivation for marginal farmers holding unused, eroded land in Tamil Nadu, India. The project has provided several insights into the potential of Jatropha as a biofuel crop and resulted in key “lessons learned” on the various aspects to be considered for its successful cultivation. Our personnel have long academic research and practical experience in all aspects of the value chain of the Jatropha curcas cultivation and agronomy.
Jatropha curcas (physic nut, purging nut) is a shrub or a small tree belonging to the family Euphorbiaceae. It is widely distributed in almost all countries in the tropical regions of Africa, Asia and Latin America. Its seeds have an extractable oil content of around 35%. The plant is usually toxic; however, non-toxic, edible Jatropha varieties occur naturally. The difference between the toxic and non-toxic Jatropha is the presence of plant secondary compounds called phorbol esters in the seeds and other plant parts of the former.
Jatropha oil, due to its excellent physical and chemical properties, has high potential for fuel oil production. It can be used as straight vegetable oil fuel in adapted motors, as feedstock for biodiesel (European and ASTM standards) aviation fuel and Hydo-Treated Vegetable Oils (HVOs).
A key advantage of Jatropha is that it can grow on comparatively poor soil in semi-arid climates and can therefore be produced without competing with land usually used for food production.
The domestication of Jatropha only started some 10 years ago. Many Jatropha projects failed in the past due to using wild-collected seeds when starting plantations. With the availability of new improved seeds, the cultivation of Jatropha is set to become profitable in the near future. For more details visit our partner company at www.jatropower.ch