Jatropha is expected to become a viable crop when superior seeds and cultivation practices are adopted
Several Jatropha projects failed in the past, primarily due to the use of wild collected, non-selected planting material along with insufficient knowledge about Jatropha agriculture. Despite these failures Jatropha is still considered to have high potential for fuel oil production compared to other possibilities, and vegetable oil will remain perhaps the only viable renewable feedstock in the foreseeable future, especially for the aviation industry. Second and third generation fuels are now near commercial viability. This is the reason why many airlines have tested aviation fuel based on Jatropha oil, even for commercial flights.
Considerable research has been conducted on Jatropha worldwide over the last decade including projects sponsored by the European Commission (e.g. http://www.jatropt.eu/, http://www.jatromed.aua.gr/) and a considerable body of knowledge has been developed on various aspects of its agriculture. This along with the elite seeds available with companies such as JATROPOWER promises to make Jatropha projects viable again.
The recent increase in interest in Jatropha from commercial players that has been recorded shows that there is a wide recognition of this fact.
JATROPOWER research resulting in elite accessions with several times higher yield compared to wild plants
JATROPOWER bases its evaluation programme on about 650 different accessions. JATROPOWER could over five years show that its best performing plants sustainably achieve a 3 to 4 times higher yield than average plants in semi-arid climate and on degraded soil. For further information please contact JATROPOWER.
A further step was taken when producing F1 hybrids of the elite plants. First results indicate that a further yield increase by a factor 2 could be achieved with such hybrids, Read More.
A main focus of JATROPOWER is on non-toxic seeds, as plantations of non-toxic Jatropha can potentially generate about 25% higher revenue than toxic, Read More.
Apart from using improved cultivars such as the ones that JATROPOWER offers, the following factors are also important for commercial viability of jatropha plantations:
- Selection of suitable plantation sites.
- Proper care for the plantations including suitable management of soil nutrients, soil moisture and pests and diseases.
- Labour costs play an important role in the profitability of jatropha plantations currently as the operations are labour intensive.
- In several tropical countries, fuel oil (such as pure Jatropha oil) commands a high price even in a low international crude oil price regime. High sales price of the oil naturally lowers the productivity levels of the plantations required for profitability.
- Remunerative prices for by-products such as the seed cake (in case of conventional jatropha) or shell pellets and kernel meal as animal feed ingredient (in the case of non-toxic jatropha) is also important.
JATROPOWER offers technical consultancy concerning all aspects of the Jatropha value chain starting from site selection till product quality control.