While cellulosic biofuels are making their advances, not far behind are still more methods for turning crops into biofuels. Despite the unpopularity of using most crops for biofuel sources, jatropha, an inedible plant, is getting a boost in popularity. The oily seeds of the bushy plant are used to create biodiesel, and nearly 2.5 million acres have been planted so far in
Hindustan Petroleum will refine the seeds from the harvest into biodiesel to sell across the state of Chhattisgarh. Jatropha is intriguing for biodiesel production because the plant grows in areas where edible crops fear to tread, so it is supposedly a non-competitor for farm land. But that doesn’t mean a whole lot if farmers can get more for a crop of jatropha seeds than another food crop they typically grow on their land. Additionally, the areas deemed “wastelands” are in fact used by land-right-less rural populations for grazing their herds. So jatropha cultivation – like most crops for biofuel and biodiesel – isn’t necessarily harmless and farming of it will need to be watched and regulated.
Jatropha isn’t just on the rise in India, but also here in the states, with My Dream Fuel LLC, successfully angling to get citrus growers with diseased trees and cattle ranchers who might want to add something new to their repertoire to plant crops in Southwest Florida – despite the existence of many of our own abandoned farmlands for potential use. Jatropha, while hailed as a miracle crop for biodiesel (alongside algae) and far better than many other crops for biodiesel or biofuels, including the latest inquiries into kudzu, is still a fuel source to keep a close watch on.
written by The Food Monster, July 29, 2008
written by Robert Wood, July 29, 2008
written by Kip, August 11, 2008
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