- 9th June 2010
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As demand for biofuels continues to grow, developing countries are beginning to see the Jatropha plant as the crop which has the potential to transform their agricultural and economic outlook for years to come.
A report in the Times stated that commercial harvesting of the Jatropha plant could “transform the biofuels industry and provide poor countries…with a new source of economic investment.”
Darrell Dennhradt of Emerald Knight, who are championing the cultivation of the Jatropha plant in Indonesia as a Sociallly Responsible Investment, said: “Ever since we heard about the opportunity to invest in Jatropha plantations we have believed that it has the power not only to provide an exciting return for investors, but also to contribute to the economic and social development of the areas in which it is grown, offering local farmers the chance to secure their own futures with a crop that is in increasing demand.”
In fact, the Times report states that worldwide demand for green energy is set to soar in the coming years. “From next year, European Union legislation will require that all transportation fuels contain a 10 per cent biofuel component. Last week China reiterated its plan to source 15 per cent of its diesel and petrol from renewable sources by 2020. Existing sources, among them rape and sunflower seed, cannot meet these targets. Jatropha could be the answer.”
Many of the Jatropha plantations are sited on former tobacco plantations, and are therefore not preventing access to farmland that could be used to grow crops and other foodstuffs. Supporter of the Jatrpoha plantations also claim that it is capable of producing four times more fuel per hectare than soya and about ten times more than maize.
Airlines have also started to use Jatropha oil in a 50-50 mixture with jet fuel in test flights already carried out. Airlines are likely to have to start cutting their emissions to avoid large penalties for air pollution under a new emissions trading scheme due to take effect in 2012.