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Jatropha Plant is one among the best among all oil Source plant crops

My-India.Net: India Forum: India Science & Environment: Jatropha Plant is one among the best among all oil Source plant crops

By Jatropha_Plant_Curcas on Thursday, August 16, 2007 - 06:33 pm: Edit Post

It is significant to point out that, the non-edible vegetable oil of Jatropha curcas has the requisite potential of providing a promising and commercially viable alternative to diesel oil since it has desirable physicochemical and performance characteristics comparable to diesel. Cars could be run with Jatropha curcas without requiring much change in design.

Jatropha has also many comparative advantages over diesel in terms of the environment. The most obvious is that using jatropha oil as a fuel creates a closed CO2 cycle, i.e. when the oil is burned CO2 is given out into the atmosphere. But when the next crop of jatropha grows, it takes the CO2 back out of the atmosphere. Therefore there is no net release. With diesel combustion however, the CO2 that was locked up inside the fuel millions of years ago is released, but there is no absorption. So the jatropha helps to reduce the climate change.

Jatropha Plant is an oil bearing plant. It is grown around crop fields and gardens to keep out animals, act as a windbreak, and to reduce soil erosion by wind and water. Jatropha hedges reduce the degradative effect of the wind and water, as soil collects at the bases of the hedges and these accumulations reduce erosion by surface runoff. It is very easy to grow, as a cutting taken from a plant, left to dry for 2 days, and simply pushed into the soil will take root. Jatropha needs only 400mm annual rainfall to grow, which means it can flourish even in Sahelian and semi-desert regions. Jatropha Curcas Plant is very fast growing: plants grown from seed take 2 years to produce seed, those from cuttings take just 1 year. This means that jatropha Plant can be an important weapon in the fight against desertification in the fragile Sahel environment.

The planting of jatropha as a living hedge has only positive environmental effects, as it protects the soil from wind erosion. The roots of the plant bind the topsoil, so it is less vu
rable to the wind (responsible for 30% of soil degradation). When planted in hedges, the wind blows soil to accumulate at the base of the plants, forming boundaries along the ground. This holds in water, allowing more absorption of water into the soil and consequently less loss of soil carried away by surface runoff. The roots of the plants also break up the earth which can become compacted during the dry season, causing high surface runoff when the rains come. This again allows more infiltration of water into the soil. The production of good quality fertiliser as a by-product of oil production will also act to improve soils and agricultural production (small scale gardening).

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