Jatropha for Biodiesel

Dear Friend:

I know all of you are wondering why I am writing a newsletter about a little known plant called "Jatropha Curcas". Well... it all has to do with making biodiesel and the production of electricity using biodiesel as a fuel. This letter is not about the specifics of making biodiesel nor the generation of electricity - you can read all about that in my book "Electricity - Make it, Don't Buy it"jatropha curcas at www.electricitybook.com.

This newsletter is to inform you of a source of vegetable oil that is relatively unknown in the United States and North America. The European community has already seen the light as have some Asian, African, Indian, and South American countries. Running engines on vegetable oil is nothing new... did you know that Rudolf Diesel originally designed his engine to run on peanut oil? Maybe the US has not seen the light yet because we are mostly engaged in the growing of food crops and oils like soybean oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, and peanut oil. All these oils are edible and thus fetch high prices. After all, why should US farmers grow a completely inedible plant!? Used cooking oil is great for the "do it yourself" enthusiast, but there is not enough supply of used cooking oil to supply a whole nation.jatropha for biodiesel

This is where Jatropha comes in... Jatropha has the following benefits when looked at from the fuel production angle:

  • it costs almost nothing to grow
  • it is drought resistant
  • it can be grown almost anywhere - even in sandy, saline, or otherwise infertile soil
  • it is easy to propogate (a cutting simply pushed into the ground will take root)
  • it is not invasive, or spreading, or damaging like kudzu
  • it is capable of stabilizing sand dunes, acting as a windbreak, and combatting desertification
  • it naturally repels both animals and insects
  • it lives for over 50 years producing seeds all the time
  • it is frost hardy
  • it does not exhaust the nutrients in the land
  • it does not require expensive crop rotation
  • it does not require fertilizers
  • it grows quickly and establishes itself easily
  • it has a high yield (Jatropha can yield about 1,000 barrels of oil per year per square mile - oil content of the seed is 55-60%)
  • no displacement of food crops is necessary
  • it is great for developing countries in terms of energy and jobs
  • the biodiesel byproduct, glycerine, is profitable in itself
  • the waste plant mass after oil extraction can be used as a fertilizer
  • the plant itself recycles 100% of the CO2 emissions produced by burning the biodiesel

That's a whole lot of benefit with little or no disadvantages!

The European Union biofuels directive requires a minimum level of biofuels as a proportion of fuels sold in the European Union of 2% by 2005, 5.75% by 2010 and 20% by 2020. The main green fuels will be ethanol and biodiesel, and demand for biodiesel is expected to be up to 10.5 billion litres just in European countries by 2010.biodiesel chart
Folks... this "biodiesel" thing is going to happen whether you like it or not! I know there are a lot of farmers, entrepreneurs, and investors reading this who can cash in on this biodiesl craze. They are already doing it big time in Europe so it's just a matter of time before it happens here. And by "it", I mean using Jatropha to make biodiesel. This industry will grow very quickly - start planting Jatropha TODAY and then start making biodiesel to generate your own electricity! biodiesel chart

I will soon update the free biodiesel book and the electricity book with the following new information:

1) Some of you have asked what kind of engine I need to use biodiesel... basically, biodiesel will run in any diesel engine unmodified. Biodiesel is a solvent, so if you put it in an old tank or use it with a diesel engine that has been running regular diesel, it may clean and dissolve some "residues" and then the residues will clog your fuel filter. Changing the filter often when you first start using biodiesel usually fixes this problem.

2) The only other problem you might have is with rubber gaskets and hoses in vehicles made prior to 1992. The biodiesel may degrade these types of rubber and they may need replacing after a while. Newer engines have been modified to stand up to the newer blends of diesel fuel that have been in use since 1992 and these engines will work fine with biodiesel.

For more info on biodiesel, visit www.electricitybook.com/biodieselmake


Bill Anderson