Bioenergy

Jatropha Means Biodiesel for India

D1 Oils, a UK biodiesel firm, will assist the Indian state of Tamil Nadu to promote the cultivation of the Jatropha, a drought resistant tree with seeds that are an excellent source of biodiesel. The wasteland cultivation project will provide seedlings to agricultural cooperatives, and the company will act as a buyer to guarantee farmers a market for seeds.

London, England – July 7, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] Technology to enable growers to crush and extract the seed oil, and refine it into biodiesel is also a part of the project. More than 40 percent of the energy in Jatropha seeds can be extracted as oil, and the oil has the equivalent energy value to diesel. It can be blended with mineral diesel to make biodiesel. Roger King, who is the executive vice president of D1 Oils India, said, “The cultivation of Jatropha on wasteland has the potential both to produce a green fuel that will reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and create much-needed rural jobs. India has the potential to be a leading world producer of diesel, but farmers need to know that there is going to be a good market for what they produce.” India currently uses about 60 million tons of diesel fuel, representing some 40 percent of national petroleum consumption. The Indian government is expected to introduce a biodiesel blend for the transport sector. The planting program in Tamil Nadu will be promoted by the District Rural Development Agency and the Coimbatore District Co-operative Milk Producers Union. Both agencies have welcomed D1’s involvement as a means to instill confidence among rural farmers that Jatropha offers a good source of income for the future. Tamil Nadu contains an estimated 130 million hectares of wasteland, of which 33 million hectares is available for reclamation. Developing these lands to create agricultural jobs is a priority for National and State governments in India. “Some 2,500 jatropha shrubs can be raised in one hectare,” said Subramaniam, who is the managing director for the milk producers union. “Each plant can yield up to 1.5 kilos of seed depending on plant condition.”