It is true that Jatropha oil is not exactly new. When Japan occupied the country, (Indonesia) it used oil from the castor-oil plant to light up the night and to move its war machines. But after Japan left, the oil also disappeared. source:http://www.energybulletin.net/7114.html
Mali Biocarburant is ahead of other companies in the race to produce fuel from jatropha because it is not relying on new plantations to source its raw material.
Instead it is buying up jatropha nuts already available from the estimated 20,000km of living jatropha fences that cover Mali, used by farmers to protect other crops and stop soil erosion. The firm is also giving farmers seeds to increase crop output for the future. source:http://allafrica.com/stories/200710300120.html
Mali has decided to not export it’s oil but to fuel it’s own deisel engines that are used to power grain mills.
All around the equatorial globe Jatropha is being planted with an urgency that is reminiscent of a gold rush. Processing plants are being built in India even before there is a supply of seeds from local farmers. The once skeptical farmers now have no trouble believing there is a market for their crop.
There may not be a market for bio-diesel in India, as yet, but some enterprising firms are investing in bio-diesel plants with an eye on the export market. “At least four bio-diesel manufacturing plants, set to be commissioned in the next few weeks, will export the product to Europe,” said an industry official who’s setting up a plant in Andhra Pradesh. Three plants are coming up in Andhra Pradesh and one in West Bengal, at a total investment of around Rs 600 crore. They will import feedstock from Indonesia and Malaysia, since there is almost no availability of feedstock (like jatropha and pongamia) in the country. Europe has a huge demand for bio-diesel as the bio-diesel blending in diesel programme has been implemented in various countries.
“Manufacturers in India can hope to earn at least $200 per tonne more from exporting their product to Europe rather than sell it to the oil companies in India for blending with diesel,” the official said. source:http://www.business-standard.com/economy/storypage.php?leftnm=3&subLeft=1&chklogin=N&autono=305603&tab=r
The Pitt Meadows farmer sees Jatropha as an anti poverty pill for his colleagues in India. He thinks Mali will use Jatropha to generate electricty and then health will improve with the benefit of refrigeration. This is one gold rush where everyone will strike it rich!
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January 12,2008 update:
The potential of the Jatropha plant to meet booming demand for biofuels is set to come under the microscope after biofuels specialist Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Company, chemicals giant Bayer CropScience and car manufacturer Daimler announced they are joining forces to assess the plant’s viability as a major source of biodiesel. source:http://www.businessgreen.com/business-green/news/2207044/multinationals-gauge-jatropha