The success of Biodiesel lies in finding inexpensive feedstock that do not compete with food crops and can be cultivated economically with high oil production ratios. Jatropha is non-edible and provides the most promising solution. The plant has over 40% oil content which is higher than most oil seeds including soybean (15%). It can also be intercropped with other food and non-food crops, and grow on marginal and poorly irrigated land not suitable for food crops. In addition, each Jatropha plant absorbs CO2, which will earn revenues from carbon credits. JatroBiofuels will provide high quality oil, biodiesel and bio jet fuel blends from Jatropha Curcas, with a production goal of 1 million gallons by 2017.
Learning about Jatropha Curcas
One of the best candidates for Biofuel production, jatropha has the potential to change the landscape of how we fuel our society. The Jatropha Curcas L species is a valuable crop that is readily available and used in several tropical countries for various purposes including alleviating soil degradation, deforestation, for medicinal purposes (purge seed for laxatives), and hedging. The use of jatropha oil as a clean renewable source of bio-energy seems limitless with many proven results. The Jatropha Curcas species has the requisite potential of providing a promising and commercially viable alternative to diesel oil due to its desirable physical and chemical characteristics. Cars could be run using 3-5% of raw Jatropha oil blended with petroleum diesel without any changes in engine design. Jatropha oil displacing conventional fossil fuel makes the project fully eligible as a CDM project, i.e. recipient of CO2 credits.
Choosing the Right Species
Jatropha Curcas belongs to the Euphorbiaceae family and found in tropics & subtropical regions. While the plan thrives in hot and humid climates, the Jatropha plant is known do well in lower temperatures and can withstand light frosts and droughts. Jatropha also contains a compound to make it naturally resistant to a wide variety of insects and wildlife.
The Real Deal
The plant has over 40% oil content, which is higher than most oil seeds including soybean (19%). It can also be intercropped with other food and non-food crops, and can grow on marginal and poorly irrigated land that is not suitable for food crops. In addition, each Jatropha plant absorbs CO2, which will earn revenues from carbon credits.
Jatropha in the Marketplace
While Jatropha oil can be used as bio-energy to reduce carbon emissions in substitution for petroleum diesel, it is also used for soap production, lighting and cooking, and has been used for the production of oil used in lamps, with Zero smoke, in comparison to kerosene and other lamp oils. Additional commercial products generated from the processing of Jatropha raw oil into biodiesel includes glycerol, organic fertilizer, and as feedstock for biogas.
20M barrels of crude oil consumed daily in the U.S., only 25% is produced domestically, with 75% (15M barrels) imported. Commercial aviation and jet fuel demands are over 20M daily gallons, with DOD diesel demand alone at 25 million barrels (1billion gallon/year). Cost of crude oil imports in 2008 was over $260 billion and $180 billion (approx.) in 2010. Renewable fuels from food sources such as corn and soybean have proved to be non-viable alternatives.
Solution to Oil
JatroBiofuels is cultivating Jatropha Curcas in Arizona, to prove that the climate and soil composition in Arizona are adequate for the cultivation of the Jatropha plant. Our dual mode approach is to import Jatropha seeds while increasing our Jatropha plantation from 10 (25 acres) to over 1000 hectares (2500 acres) to meet our biodiesel and bio jet fuel blend goals. With the importation of Jatropha seeds, we can generate raw Jatropha oil and biodiesel and get to market within the first 10 months, while our plants continue to grow to produce seeds. Our seed importation will decrease by the time we achieve 100 hectare plantation output with seed production.