Will Jatropha Meet High Expectations?

The jatropha plant, native to Central America but growable in many tropical and subtropical environments, has been widely hailed in recent years as a very promising source of biodiesel. Because it is hardy and relatively undemanding, the thinking has been that it could be grown on a lot of land that isnâ''t good for much elseâ''and therefore would not compete uncomfortably with cropland for food, the way, for example, corn for ethanol does. But preliminary results from a study being done by researchers at Yale suggest that the hopes may be overblown. According to one of them, while jatropha can indeed grow on lands with minimal water and poor nutrition, â''if you plant trees in a marginal area, and all they do is just not die, it doesnâ''t mean youâ''re going to get a lot of oil from them.â''

Advertisement

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up for the EnergyWise newsletter and get biweekly news on the power & energy industry, green technology, and conservation delivered directly to your inbox.

Advertisement