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Hawaii sustainability project addresses jatropha production

By Erin Voegele | May 19, 2011

A team of researchers at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa has received $1 million in funding to support a sustainability initiative that includes work with jatropha. According to Michael Cooney, an associate professor in the university’s Natural Energy Institute, the initiative focuses on the nexus of energy, water and the environment. The project that has been funded, he said, is titled “Water, Energy and Soil Sustainability,” and includes the processing of industrial liquid waste streams into soil amendments, which could, in turn, be used to cultivate biofuel feedstocks such as jatropha.

Cooney noted that jatropha has shown potential as a sustainable biodiesel feedstock in Hawaii. While much attention has been paid to palm oil, he said that Hawaii’s climate is not tropical enough to support its growth. Cooney also said he thinks algae oil production faces limitations in terms of its resource and carbon dioxide needs.

Jatropha can produce up to 100 gallons of oil per acre in the first year, and between 250 to 300 gallons after three years, Cooney said. “It’s a perennial crop, you can prune it to make it easier to harvest, and it has a natural pesticide in it, which is useful,” Cooney said. “You don’t have to put out pesticides. The nut has got a really rich protein. It should make a very good animal feed [if the toxin in the seed can be removed].”

Cooney said he is currently working on a laboratory-based project that focuses on removing the toxin from jatropha seeds. We have a novel solution using solvents to extract oil from the seeds, he said. “We were curious whether that solvent would also extract out proteins and other molecules from the tissue,” Cooney added. “We’re not seeing that it extracts too much protein, but it seems to be extracting [the toxin].”

In addition to jatropha production, the broad-based sustainability project also includes educational outreach and  the development of a business plan to commercialize some of the technologies that have the potential to sustain the project after its initial two-year duration, said Gary Ostrander, UH Mānoa Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education. Ostrander’s office sponsored the competition.

“This project has strong potential for commercializing technology and products in the next several years,” said Ostrander, “while also giving UH Mānoa researchers and engineering students the opportunity to apply scientific knowledge towards sustainable industries.”  

 

 

1 Responses

  1. center for jatropha promotion

    2011-06-08

    1

    JATROPHAWORLD INDIA 2011 is going to be the most important programme of 2011 because it do not only to discuss growing opportunities available in the jatropha, nonfood oil markets but present actual and truthful accounts of jatropha and other nonfood oil crops production. Those wanting more information or who are vitally interested in Jatropha, other nonfood oils as a feedstock for Biodiesel and alternative energy must visithttp://www.jatrophabiodiesel.org . While there, they can approach for registration for this essential programme. There is a significant potential for sustainable aviation fuel based on jatropha-curcas. , if cultivated properly, jatropha can deliver strong environmental and socio-economic benefits across the globe and greenhouse gas reductions of up to 60 percent when compared to petroleum-based jet fuel. But a lack of understanding of the Jatropha Curcas Plant and reliable information; lack of QPM inputs; lack of Best Agricultural Practices and expertise & poor management techniques ; many projects are only achieving mediocre results. This is vital to helping developers to deliver better social, environmental, and economic sustainability outcomes from jatropha cultivation. The programe shall highlight that how scientific selection of site and superior seed strain can ensure a successful Fuel Farms and can meet all the three criteria any environmentally sustainable fuel must meet. These are social, technical and commercial. The invaluable insights provided by experts/scientists will help our trainees to better understand the sustainability of this potential jet fuel source. “The Global JatrophaWorld 2011 is a must attend Programme as it is a programme where you shall study & learn 5 promising biodiesel crops apart from jatropha oil crops in totality from the top scientists, experts and technologists; where you shall understand the nonfood oil crop Science and Obtain accurate and authentic information; where you shall updates on latest technological developments and evaluate the biodiesel investment profitability as this is the only platform to understand & learn, to plan and execute, the best expertise to discuss and analyze the present and future dynamics of Jatropha, other nonfood oil crops.

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