When jatropha seeds are crushed, the resulting jatropha oil can be processed to produce a high-quality biodiesel that can be used in a standard diesel car, while the residue (press cake) can also be processed and used as biomass feedstock to power electricity plants or used as fertilizer (it contains nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium).
"From planting to harvest. Treat the jatropha plant as well as possible to make the harvest as large as possible!" (A reference to the compulsory planting of jatropha in Indonesia for the production of oil as machinery lubricant and fuel for the Japanese WWII war effort.)
The plant may yield more than four times as much fuel per hectare as soybean, and more than ten times that of maize (corn). A hectare of jatropha has been claimed to produce 1,892 litres of fuel. However, as it has not yet been domesticated or improved by plant breeders, yields are variable
Researchers at Daimler Chrysler Research explored the use of jatropha oil for automotive use, concluding that although jatropha oil as fuel "has not yet reached optimal quality, ... it already fulfills the EU norm for biodiesel quality". Archer Daniels Midland Company, Bayer CropScience and Daimler AG have a joint project to develop jatropha as a biofuel. Three Mercedes cars powered by Jatropha diesel have already put some 30,000 kilometres behind them. The project is supported by DaimlerChrysler and by the German Association for Investment and Development (Deutschen Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft, DEG).
In 2007 Goldman Sachs cited Jatropha curcas as one of the best candidates for future biodiesel production. However, despite its abundance and use as an oil and reclamation plant, none of the Jatropha species has been properly domesticated and, as a result, its productivity is variable, and the long-term impact of its large-scale use on soil quality and the environment is unknown.
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