Toxic jatropha shrub fuels Mexico's biodiesel push

Known locally as “pinon,” jatropha is a hearty shrub that grows with no special care. Its oil-rich seeds are being eyed as an attractive feed stock for biofuel since the poisonous plant does not compete with food crops.

Now India is planting the bush en masse, converting it into a green energy source used to power trains and buses with less pollution than crude oil. Mexico hopes to follow suit.

Mexico passed a law last year to push developing biofuels that don’t threaten food security and the agriculture ministry has since identified some 2.6 million hectares (6.4 million acres) of land with a high potential to produce jatropha.

This sounds promising. Apparently jatropha biodiesel runs more efficiently than regular diesel. And using it would help keep the price of palm oil and soybeans down by limiting diversion from food use…

I see algae as the most viable biomass to biofuels. And 100% of the remaining algae wastecan be used for things like fertilizers, food, and feedstock.

Another excellent post.

There are a number of promising tropical plants such as jojoba, grain amaranths, and guayule that could have fabulous economic benefits.

What’s really funny is that a lot of this work seems to be carried on in Minnesota.

Anyway, decades ago, the Office of Arid Lands Studies of the University of Arizona used to have projects along these lines. I don’t know what happened, but they seemed to have lost focus in recent years. Lack of quick results. ???]

The publications list doesn’t go very far back. Maybe they could get a grant to computerize some of their older pubs … such as “Jojoba Happenings”.

And then there’s this barley product:

that could save the lives of millions of babies.

By the way, the barley gruel product for the tropics comes to you via Wisconsin!!


Methinks petroleum is on the way out.

Me doesn’t think so.

Methinks that all of the limitations on petroleum exploration and development are artificial limitations on imagination and innovation. Mostly the limitations are political, put in place by [harshly spoken] people who can’t change a light bulb, but who want to control everybody else.

Let’s go to the Masetti Theory of Wealth Creation. * naming it after me … on account of because no one else seems to care.]

Anyway, the MTWC postulates that the planet Earth is 7000 miles in diameter. And we have literally barely scratched the surface in our explorations.

My most recent innovation is to say … let’s lay the Earth out flat. [You know … like when the Earth was flat ]

So, the Earth now is a slab laying flat …

3500 miles thick. [three thousand five hundred miles on account of because the diameter is 7000 miles and 3500 equals the radius.]

Like a piece of grass sod, the kind of thing you might buy at a horticultural sundries store … one of those nursery places.


So, you’re looking at this piece of sod and it’s three thousand five hundred miles thick.

Mostly it’s so hot, on fire, 4000 degrees, that it sets fire to everything … except that it has a thin, almost onion skin thin, crust on top.

And the molten rock and molten rock bottom layer is oozing up to the grassy green surface. Except where the surface is water (2/3 of the surface) where it appears blue and the red molten ooze is invisible below the blue water. Of course, the water isn’t blue, it is transparent. But it looks blue. [Humans are so limited that nothing looks much like it really is.]

So … how deeply have humans explored into that piece of sod? Not very deep. Not even a pinprick deep.

One three-thousanth of the depth of that sod. Like barely visible even under a microscope.

This planet Earth is amazing. It has natural resources that we cannot imagine because they are in such profusion. And we have people saying that because they cannot recognize these vast God-given riches, that there aren’t any more left.

This thread is about the jatropha shrub … who would have thought that a poisonous plant could thrive and provide benefits.

So anyway, we have abiogenic petroleum. It percolates up from the Earth’s lower regions. And we know it exists, because it is much older than the oil that we get from the decomposition of those little prehistoric critters.*

Algae will not work in the long run. Algae still needs fossil fuels to transfer energy (electron) by breaking carbon/hydrogen bonds. Fertilizers are produced by fixing atmospheric nitrogen via hydrocarbons. Food or food waste were/are produced by fertilizers thus via hydrocarbons, again.

The point of the jatropha shrub and other plants is (that companies like Chevron and Shell are focusing on) to circumvent existing hydrocarbons as an energy source.

As side note…I know that hydrocarbons have been demonized but just think of the progress we have made as a world society. I think you can claim that by breaking the hydrocarbon bond we have done so much to advance human kind (battling hunger and diseases, building cities, feeding the poor, etc.). The very people that fuss about hydrocarbons use them everyday to advance there lives and well being. How ironic.

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