Thursday, April 7, 2011

Jatropha holds potential to be sustainable aviation fuel

Published: April 6, 2011 15:49 IST | Updated: April 6, 2011 17:23 IST

Research teams conducted interviews with jatropha farmers and used field measurements to develop the first comprehensive sustainability analysis of actual projects. File Photo.

Research teams conducted interviews with jatropha farmers and used field measurements to develop the first comprehensive sustainability analysis of actual projects. File Photo.

There is a significant potential for sustainable aviation fuel based on jatropha-curcas, an oil-producing non-edible plant, says a study released by Boeing.

The study, led by Yale University’s School of Environmental Studies, has shown that if cultivated properly, jatropha can deliver strong environmental and socio-economic benefits in Latin America and reduce greenhouse gas emmissions up to 60 percent as compared to petroleum-based jet fuel.

“Research study like this is vital to helping developers to deliver better social, environmental, and economic sustainability outcomes from jatropha cultivation,” says Rob Bailis, assistant professor at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

The study, conducted from 2008-2010 and funded by Boeing, used sustainability criteria developed by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels to assess actual farming conditions in Latin America.

Unlike previous studies, which used theoretical inputs, the researchers’ team conducted extensive interviews with jatropha farmers and used field measurements to develop the first comprehensive sustainability analysis of actual projects.

A key study finding identifies prior land-use as the most important factor driving greenhouse gas benefits of a jatropha jet fuel. It highlights that developers should pay particular attention to prior land use when deciding where to locate jatropha projects.

A second important finding is that early jatropha projects suffered from a lack of developed seed strains, which led to poor crop yields.

“The invaluable insights provided by this study will help our airline customers to better understand the sustainability of this potential jet fuel source,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes director of environmental strategy Michael Hurd.

Cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions around the world, jatropha-curcas, is a poisonous, semi-evergreen shrub or small tree. It reaches a height of 6 metres (20 ft) and is resistant to a high degree of aridity, allowing it to be grown in deserts.

Printable version | Apr 7, 2011 9:52:18 PM | http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/article1605079.ece


  1. Hi,

    I found your blog when searching for Jatropha Curacus you know alot about plants and I wondered if you could comment on this Jatropha Polyculture scenario!


    Respect to the arborialist massive!

    Kent Biofuel

  2. Dear Supreme Overlord!!
    I would love to hear your uptake on this interesting idea as well. I remember you guys doing some inter cropping right? I am not sure how your partners at Haiti doing Jatropha cultivation?/ Is it mono crop?

  3. Dear Kent and Subbanna,

    Kent: That Jatropha polyculture sounds fascinating. I think that the 9kg estimate that you used for the yield of a Jatropha plant after 4 years might be a bit high, but overall, the combination of aloe vera and Jatropha seems fascinating and workable. However, I'm not an expert in Jatropha intercropping, so I will ask Dr. Geeta Singh from Labland Biotechs to weigh in on your Jatropha polyculture scenario.

    Subbanna: In India, Project Jatropha is utilizing some intercropping of Jatropha with existing tobacco plants. In Haiti, I'll ask Michelle Lacourcierce to give input on the nature of Jatropha cultivation there.


  4. Congratulations on a fantastic blog!

    Jatropha has been a contraversial subject in Africa for many years now here are some Kenyan farmers showing support for Jatropha Plantations


    Most of the greedy people who are not African who want the biodiesel grow monoculture plantations and as we all know jatropha cannot be eaten!


    This article gives some good questions to ask if you are being offered an "investment oppertunity" by anyone in Africa like "Dr" Peter McHendry who has run scams in Namibia, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia where I invested!




  5. Hi Great Blog on Jatropha!

    You have loads of comments on your blog and I thought these video's may be of interest to your readers!



    Nice One Centurion!


  6. Hi,

    Great Blog!

    The world needs to stop conmen like Peter McHendry from preying on AIDS Victims

    Here are some very homophobic comments made by chode Peter McHendry


    You can see this Australians experience of Peter McHendry's luxury holidays with "Global Adventures" another non existent Peter McHendry Global business....


    Comment 17 describes various lies and misrepresentations from "Dr" Peter McHendry who thinks it is reasonable to charge $2500 for a month in a field that mcHendry does not even own (with no food)


    More homophobic rantings from Peter McHendry on his arrest record from the USA...

    Ricky B