Potential of Jatropha as an Energy Crop
Jatropha curcas L. has been considered as an energy feedstock for biodiesel production in many countries worldwide particularly in tropical and sub-tropical regions where the species is predominantly found. The utilization of J. curcas for energy purposes, particularly for biodiesel is motivated by its potential for large oil yield, its ability to grow under variable conditions including poor soils or marginal lands and under low water and nutrient supply. The ability of J. curcas to grow on soil unsuitable for food crops would be an advantage to avoid competition with food and conflict on land use. In addition, the possibility to grow it under low energy requirements is also favorable to low greenhouse gas emissions however at the cost of high yield. In addition, several investigations have reported that larger seed and oil yields could be achieved with elite genotypes under adequate conditions of water and nutrient supply. From an energy perspective, J. curcas cultivation exclusively for biodiesel production is already a viable option since its Net Energy Ratio is higher than one; however, the integration of co-products to the energy balance would increase the energy benefits. Thus, the plantation of J. curcas is being promoted at community scale as a sustainable feedstock for energy without the need for large-scale and complex infrastructure development.
KeywordsPerennial Plantation Seed Cake Jatropha Seed Life Cycle Energy Energy Assessment
The authors would like to acknowledge Dr. Nicolas Carels, Dr. Savitri Garivait, Ms. Narumon Ladawan Na Ayudhaya and Mr. Kritana Prueksakorn for their kind inputs. The funding from the Joint Graduate School of Energy and Environment is also acknowledged.
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