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Posts tagged “jatropha”

By Samuel R. Avro on Nov 3, 2011 with 18 responses

This Week in Energy: Range Fuels To Declare Bankruptcy?

This Week in Energy is a weekly round-up of news making headlines in the world of energy. Many of these stories are posted throughout the week to our Energy Ticker page. The purpose is to stimulate discussion on energy issues. Community members should feel free to turn these into open thread energy discussions. Suggestions and news tips are welcome. I (Sam) can be reached at editor [at] consumerenergyreport [dot] com. Note: Robert Rapier is currently in Washington, D.C. and will be presenting at the ASPO-USA conference over the next few days. If you’re attending the conference or in the area be sure to hit him up. Range Fuels Saga Coming to a Close? Regular readers of this blog are familiar… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on May 26, 2011 with 69 responses

Air Force Says Biomass-Based Jet Fuel is 10 Times the Cost of JP-8

Just over a year ago, I wrote an article called Is Camelina the Next Jatropha? If you recall, a few years ago jatropha was all the rage. It could grow in marginal soil, didn’t need much water, and could provide fuel that didn’t compete with food. Farmers in developing countries were encouraged to forgo cash crops like cotton to grow jatropha, which wouldn’t be ready for harvest for at least three years after planting. Then reality began to set in. People learned that while jatropha is drought tolerant, it needs ample rainfall to flourish. There were many firsthand reports from farmers that growing and harvesting jatropha was very labor intensive, and the oil yields were much lower than advertised. India… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jun 11, 2009 with no responses

It’s Always Something

I spend a lot of time thinking about the trade-offs involved with different energy options. Take petroleum, for instance. It offers great convenience, and has been relatively inexpensive for decades. Cheap petroleum has enabled numerous people a level of mobility that had never before been possible. Some of the downsides, though, are that we get air pollution, oil spills, and resource wars. And because of U.S. dependence on petroleum, we find ourselves increasingly at the mercy of regimes hostile to U.S. interests. And when prices go up, money flows out of our economy into theirs. However, we have been willing to live with those trade-offs. The same trade-offs hold true for renewable energy, and I actually spend a lot more… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Feb 14, 2009 with no responses

The Potential of Jatropha

The previous post provided an introduction to Jatropha curcas, a tropical, oil-producing shrub. In this essay I want to get into why I believe there is great potential for jatropha to make an impact on the world’s energy supply. I will also explain the hurdles that need to be overcome. Jatropha Curcas in India (Photo courtesy of Tree Oils India Limited.) The Potential Jatropha has many qualities that make it an attractive biofuel option. One, it is tolerant of dry conditions and marginal soils. This is a big plus, because it opens up areas for cultivation that would otherwise be unsuitable. The type of land with great potential is land that is being degraded, or turned into desert. Desertification is… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on with no responses

Jatropha Curcas

I have written a few posts in the past about Jatropha curcas, a tropical shrub with the potential to make an important contribution to our fuel supplies. (See here and here for previous essays concerning jatropha). While I believe that the present status of jatropha has been exaggerated, I believe the potential is enormous. I want to devote the next couple of essays to why I believe this. In this essay, I want to provide a synopsis of jatropha by supplying an excerpt from the chapter on renewable diesel that I wrote for Biofuels, Solar and Wind as Renewable Energy Systems: Benefits and Risks. I will fill in some details in the next essay. ———————– 7.1.1 Jatropha Jatropha curcas is… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Apr 13, 2008 with no responses

A Footnote on Jatropha

Following my recent post on the energy situation in India, I received an e-mail from Sreenivas Ghatty, the founder and CEO of Tree Oils India. Sreenivas told me that I was correct that the jatropha situation in India has been overstated, and wanted to provide some facts on where jatropha stands. Sreenivas is involved in trying to establish a jatropha industry, and he wrote in part: There are no large scale commercial plantations in India as of now. The plantation activity has commenced here and there during the last few years, but, it may take few more years before the commercial yields start. We have been focusing on research to improve yields and expect meaningful outcomes this year. Based on… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Apr 3, 2008 with 3 responses

The Diesel Tree

Naturally, something like a “diesel tree” is going to catch my attention. (The scientific name for the tree, as best as I can ascertain, is Copaifera langsdorfii, and is native to South America). I have been intrigued by this plant since I first heard about it, but haven’t run across a wealth of information. Thanks to Bob Rohantensky for bringing the following story out of Australia to my attention: Qld farmers invest in diesel-producing trees Farmers in North Queensland are doing their bit to be environmentally friendly by investing in a tree that produces diesel. Over 20,000 trees have been sold to farmers in the tropics by the man who introduced the diesel tree from Brazil. The tree produces an… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Mar 20, 2008 with no responses

Condensed Summary of India

My Host Kapil in the Back Overall Impressions of India Here is a condensed summary of my overall impressions of my recent trip to India. The trip was business, but I got to see a lot of country. For a full blow by blow, see my trip reports at my travel blog: India Part I and India Part II. When I was in high school, the Men at Work song “Land Down Under” was one of my favorite songs. One line speaks of Bombay, which to a farm kid from Oklahoma was the most exotic sounding destination in the world. For me, it was always one of these mystical places like Timbuktu. Never in my wildest dreams could I have… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jan 5, 2008 with 1 response

Update on Book Publication

Nate Hagens at The Oil Drum just wrote a review of a paper by Professor Charles Hall, who like Nate and myself also contributed a chapter to the renewable energy book that will be published later in the year. Many have written to ask about the book, and I haven’t said anything, as I wasn’t sure how much was public information. Nate made most of it public in his post: At $100 Oil – What Can the Scientist Say to the Investor? Nate wrote: This paper, along with 16 others (including 2 by theoildrum.com contributors), will be part of an upcoming book edited by Professor David Pimentel, “Renewable Energy Systems: Environmental and Energetic Issues“. (I’ll provide links when published). The… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Sep 9, 2007 with no responses

Jatropha in NYT

An interesting jatropha story in today’s New York Times: Mali’s Farmers Discover a Weed’s Potential Power It will be archived pretty soon, but here are a couple of excerpts to chew on: But now that a plant called jatropha is being hailed by scientists and policy makers as a potentially ideal source of biofuel, a plant that can grow in marginal soil or beside food crops, that does not require a lot of fertilizer and yields many times as much biofuel per acre planted as corn and many other potential biofuels. When I was working on my renewable diesel chapter, it was pretty clear to me that jatropha has significant potential as a source of renewable diesel. I did some… Continue»