Monday, June 29, 2009

Jatropha - Biofuel Flavor of the Month

Source: TopRank E.S. Agriculture Co. Ltd.

Jatropha becomes big biofuel buzzword
Airlines have tested it, BP interested; but others aren't so sure

Associated Press Writer

FORT MYERS, Fla. - What some see as the biofuel of the future starts out as short, thick stems with a few leaves sticking out at sharp angles. But in just a few years, they will be tall, leafy trees with bright green spherical pods spilling their seeds all over the ground.

The jatropha tree doesn't have the name recognition or lobbying clout of corn-based ethanol, but the energy industry is increasingly spending development dollars and examining it as a potentially better biofuel source: It is easier to grow than corn, untied to the food market and free from any carbon dioxide or sulfur emissions.

Biodiesel from jatropha has powered test flights on Air New Zealand and Continental Airlines. It has prompted oil giant BP PLC to partner on jatropha projects in India and Africa.

Balance of article: MSNBC


The key matrix issue with any Biofuel is its "water footprint." Rice University Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Pedro Alvarez said, "To make one kilogram of bread, let's say, you need 1,000 liters of water and to make one kilogram of meat you need 10,000 liters of water. The point here is that water is going to be a severe limiting factor - not only to economic development, but just to feed a growing population."

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