Post by Ismail AbdulAzeez on May 11, 2020 5:27:50 GMT 1
Jatropha curcas is a diesel bearing plant which grows wildly in Nigeria and requires little or no maintenance. It is a multipurpose tree. It can withstand high degrees of aridity and so can be grown in all parts of the country. The oil-rich jatropha seeds are useful for biofuel production, with the kernel containing about 60% of oil. The seeds can be transformed into biofuel.
As technology expands, one of the new areas of agriculture is to cultivate crops that serve other economic purposes apart from food. One of such plants is jatropha curcas.
The green energy derived from the plant can be used to power various machines while the biofuel mix is said to be more efficient and burn less fuel in total than the conventional one. It burns with clear smoke-free flame.
The jatropha plant would survive on any undulating soil (stony, gravel, sandy, saline or even crevice of rocks). It grows in both tropical and sub-tropical conditions, especially around the forest areas, and likes heat. It can tolerate low temperature and light frost. The plant requires less water and can withstand drought condition. It needs a mean rainfall of between 300 and 1000mm and a mean temperature of 20-28oC .
Economic Values of Jatropha
The economic values and potentials of jatropha are attractive. With jatropha, nothing is wasted. One of the good things about the plant is that the shrubs begin to fruit from the first year and come to full maturity within five years, with a lifespan of up to 45 years; delivering an estimated over 1,500 gallons of diesel per acre per annum. The seeds contain about 60 per cent oil as stated earlier, which can be processed to produce high- quality biodiesel fuel that can be used in standard diesel engines or further processed into aviation fuel. Also the residue (seed cake) is applicable in fertiliser production as it is a rich source of NPK and can be detoxified to produce nutritious animal feed. Its oil yield capacity is rated to be well above that of other fuel crops like maize and corn.
Bio-diesel production from jatropha is used as renewable energy in Nigeria. And the oil extracted from jatropha seeds could effectively be blended with fossil diesel to power plants as practised in countries like India.
Bye products of the extraction process, which include glycerine also is used as a moisturiser in the manufacture of cosmetic products and can be further purified to produce glycerol, which is applicable as a sweetener by confectioners.
Glycerin is applicable too in the textile industry as a plasticiser. Its medicinal properties make it a useful raw material in the manufacture of anti -fungal soaps, shampoos and creams.
Other Benefits of Jatropha
Apart from its economic benefits, jatropha has social and environmental advantages that distinguish it from other fuel crops like soya beans , groundnuts , maize , etc. whose continued cultivation for fuel purposes competes with their relevance as foods - often-triggering food shortages and increase in food prices.
Jatropha, on the other hand, is not edible and therefore does not threaten the food security needs of humans nor does it compete for land space with food crops since it can grow on marginal fields and waste lands. Additionally, the plant is cherished for its medicinal value and the cake can be used as livestock feed if properly processed.
Today, jatrupha holds so much familiarity around the world with many international literature describing the plant as a Mexican , Indian, or American crop but it has always been around us here in Nigeria. The difference though, is that, we are very vast on its medicinal properties here in Nigeria, but, our low level of technology has not allowed us enough access to its other economic potential .
Interestingly, many use jatropha to fence their compounds, as still found in some villages because it is not a forage plant, it is used in preventing animals from straying into homesteads and farmlands. It does not require complex agronomical care, hence it can be grown extensively by rural people, both for extra income and to meet the energy needs of rural communities.
For instance, in India, the railway line from Mumbai to Delhi is lined with jatropha trees while the trains use about 20 per cent biodiesel blend. As a fuel, its carbon emissions are low and it does not have much of the characteristic pungent odour of fossil diesel and kerosene.
Biodiesel is an auspicious discovery for Nigeria. Given that Nigeria transports her petro-fuel using diesel powered petrol tankers instead of pipelines, so the nation's diesel consumption is very high, often causing scarcity and attracting high costs.
Furthermore, the low performance of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria has driven many homes, offices and industries to purchase diesel powered generating plants , which consume a lot of diesel and pollute the environments where they are situated. Local production of biodiesel could reduce the multiple pollutions caused by these aberrations in our society , while also stabilising diesel prices. Already , some airlines across the world have successfully tested the suitability of jatropha fuel blend as aviation fuel .
The name jatropha may sound strange to you but it is definitely a plant you must have seen. It is known as Lapalapa in Yoruba, Wuluidu in Igbo and Cini da zugu in Hausa. It is known as Physic Plant or Purging nut or big purginant In other countries.
Expected triggers for a surge in demand for jatropha is eminent, as Nigeria and other countries signed to reduce carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2020 at the recent environmental meeting in New York. There is no doubt that Nigeria would follow up with a policy to blend 20 per cent biofuel into locally consumed fuels.
Therefore, In response to the needs of a dynamic global market, the market for jatropha is penetrable and a huge opening for discerning and willing investors.