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Potential of Jatropha curcas for Biofuels

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Increasing population density and the additional decline in availability of productive land due to degradation would further fuel the large-scale migration of people into the already overpopulated metropolis in Asia and Africa in future, unless urgent corrective measures are adopted to increase rural incomes and generate new perspectives in the weaker regions. Economic development in many developing countries has led to huge increases in the energy demand. As most of the countries now enjoying rapid development (China and India e.g., – both countries already rank among the top 5 net CO2 emitters in the world) are also large petroleum importers, their dependence on external energy sources from highly unstable regions would increase to uncomfortable levels. Energy security has thus become a key issue for many countries. India produces about 27% and imports 73% of its oil requirement. India is the least explored region for oil. India's import bill is about Rs. 1400 billion per annum and consumption is about 2% of world's oil. Moreover, due to uncertain supplies and fluctuations in prices for fossil fuel in international market, the need to search renewable, safe and non-polluting sources of energy assumes top priority. Non-edible oil bearing trees like Jatropha can be utilized either as biofuel or with processing. The use of the tree on wastelands is of vital importance for the human population in developing countries. Biodiesel has drawn attention because it is environmentally safe, can be made from renewable sources and prepared locally. Since India is deficient in edible oils, the non-edible oil like Jatropha could be the desirable source for production of biodiesel. This plant could be grown on wasteland, about 40 million hectare of which is available in India. The crop grows in arid and semi-arid region and requires minimum post plantation management and care. Since, almost all the wasteland is available in rural and economically underdeveloped region, the large scale biodiesel production has an enormous potential for employment and development of these areas.
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Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: December 1, 2007

More about this publication?
  • The goal of the creation of a biobased economy is challenging to agriculture, forestry, academia, government and industry. The extractable resources of the Earth are finite, regardless of the quibble over when they will be depleted. The economic, political and social demands for biobased chemicals, materials and energy are expected to radically transform the materials industries, particularly the plastics industry as well as the biofuel industry. These changes will be based on the principles of sustainability, eco-efficiency, industrial ecology, and green chemistry and engineering. In keeping with the growth of knowledge in this field, there is a strong need for a forum to share original research related to biobased materials and bioenergy. The Journal of Biobased Materials and Bioenergy (JBMB) has been created as an international peer-reviewed periodical to fulfill the need for communication in these research areas. This journal will encompass related research activities in all fields of science, engineering and the life sciences.
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