Everything you want to know about Jatropha

4:44 pm Bio Energy Plantations

Jatropha is a scrub plant widely spread in South-America, Asia and Africa, which grows under comparatively dry conditions (250-1200 mm precipitation p.a.) and on poor soil. Jatropha nuts are toxic, which makes it known in rural areas as a hedge-plant that protects fields against animal predators.

For the same reason Jatropha is not cultivated as a food crop. Jatropha actually qualifies as an energy source in developing countries, because there is no competition with local food markets.

The Jatropha curcas L. variety has been tested as an energy source in a number of development projects and research programs since the early nineties, and it has shown very positive results.

Jatropha curcas L. produces seeds with an oil content of 30-50%. The Jatropha oil can be combusted as fuel without being refined. Jatropha oil burns with a clear, smoke-free flame. Within a development project conducted by the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) in Mali Jatropha oil has been successfully tested as fuel for simple Diesel-engines with precombustion-chamber used in agricultural production for mills and water pumps. The esterification with methanol or ethanol then produces biodiesel (methyl- or ethyl-ester) which can be used for Diesel-engines in ordinary vehicles.

For the past two years Bioenergy Plantations (BEP) has done extensive research in studying the growth of the Jatropha plant in tropical areas of India without irrigation. Bioenergy Plantations research and development center has been testing different lines and varieties of Jatropha plants. Bioenergy Plantations has also been measuring germination percentages and Jatropha oil content from several different varieties of Jatropha seeds.

The Jatropha tree uses are many and range from non-edible Jatropha oil production to soap production to pharmaceutical production.


  • The Jatropha seeds yield up to 35-45% oil which is non-edible.
  • The Jatropha oil is a commercially viable alternative to diesel oil because it burns without emitting any smoke and has a very good burning quality.
  • Engines do not need any modification for using Jatropha oil.
  • Jatropha Oil cake is a good biofertilizer.
  • Jatropha glycerin obtained during the refining of oil can be used in pharmaceuticals and for various other purposes
  • Oil is also used in soap industry
  • Latex, oil cake, leaves, and oil are known to possess antimicrobial properties and are used as pest protectants

The life span of Jatropha curcas L. is about 40 years. For this reason Bioenergy Plantations (BEP) is very positive in promoting Jatropha oil as an alternative to soy bean oil, palm oil or any edible vegetable oil being used as a feedstock to produce biodiesel. Last but not least, Jatropha can grow on wastelands, in rural areas without any irrigation and management.

It is without question the green fuel of the future.

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