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What is Jatropha

Jatropha: the Future of Fuel

The world is continuing to change, and new technology is providing humanity with some incredible innovations.  For years, humans have absorbed the natural resources of the earth without any consciousness about replenishing the resources we have used.  Now, the current generation is facing an energy crisis unlike any energy crisis that any generation before has ever faced.  Without significant changes in energy usage and energy sources, the natural resources of this earth that can be used to power machines might be completely exhausted in less than a century.  However, with technical and scientific innovation, a new discovery is sweeping across the world.  This discovery offers a new, sustainable, farmed energy source that can be used in diesel engines that have been modified.  The source is known as the Jatropha plant.

What Is Jatropha?

  • Jatropha is a special plant that produces seeds from which oil can be extracted.  Many plants produce oil-bearing seeds, and oils such as sunflower oil, peanut oil, and even canola oil have been used for cooking and flavoring food, lubricating mechanical parts, and even treating a variety of human ailments.  However, Jatropha oil is completely different.  The oil extracted from the seed of a Jatropha plant can actually be used to power a diesel engine.  This innovation was previous unheard of, but intelligent scientists have been able to use this oil to generate a product known as biodiesel.  Biodiesel is a fuel that is planted, tended to, grown and harvested completely by human hands.  With biodiesel, humans can create their own fuel sources without relying on naturally occurring sources that are quickly becoming extinguished.  Using Jatropha oil is a great business opportunity, as well, as many farmers can sell the oil and refined fuel for a larger profit margin than a crop farm could produce.  Because there is such a huge and desperate need for fuel in many portions of the world, a Jatropha farm can be a life-sustaining enterprise for many individuals.

How to Use Jatropha as an Energy Source

  • The oil of the Jatropha plant can be used to effectively power both stationary and mobile diesel engines.  Diesel is considered to be a dirtier and less refined fuel source, and many diesel engines are specifically designed to handle the impurities found in diesel fuel.  Stationary engines can use the fuel produced by Jatropha oil without any type of modification.  Mobile diesel engines in trucks and some cars must be modified slightly to be able to effectively use biodiesel fuel. Because the chemicals in biodiesel can be harsh on hoses and other fixtures in a mobile diesel engine, individuals must be careful to use materials that are resistant to the deteriorating effects of biodiesel.

Information about Growing Jatropha

  • Jatropha is currently spreading like wildfire in climates all around the world.  Because this plant can be specifically bred to be resistant to different types of weather, many different farmers are finding success with this plant despite climate differences.  However, Jatropha has been proven to grow most effectively in regions that fall within the Tropic of Cancer or Tropic of Capricorn or just above or below these regions.  These regions are perfect for planting and harvesting crops as they receive a large amount of sunlight during the summer months and many areas within these regions receive abundant rainfall each year.  Depending on whether  a farmer lives in the northern or southern hemispheres, his or her planting season will be different.  An individual in the Northern Hemisphere should begin growing seedlings in March and planting in May.  A farmer in the Southern Hemisphere should start growing seedlings in September, and should probably plant in November.
  • Many farmers grow their Jatropha plants first from seeds in contained environments.  Once the seedling has grown, it can more easily be transplanted to a large field for cultivation.  The seeds are somewhat temperamental, and an unexpected weather pattern could destroy large portions of a planted field.  There are specific guidelines for the distances between rows and columns in a Jatropha field that will help farmers to maximize harvest potential.

Jatropha Markets

  • Because Jatropha produces oil which can effectively power most diesel engines, the market for this plant product is literally a global market.  Individuals around the world will pay good money for Jatropha seeds and Jatropha oil.  Especially as traditional oil prices continue to rise, the use of biodiesel fuels in gaining popularity.  Biodiesel may one day completely replace the use of traditional oil fuels.  If this occurs, farmers who have already gained crucial experience tending to and cultivating this plant will be uniquely positioned to lead this emerging market.  This plant will have incredible, positive effects on the global economy as well.  Countries that are struggling to raise their gross domestic product can begin cultivating and selling this fuel.