Jatropha has great potential to save greenhouse gases
The threshold of 35% greenhouse gas (GHG) savings for biofuels by the European Union is easily met by Jatropha. These are the findings of an independent report by sustainability consultants Partners for Innovation. The study commissioned by the Jatropha Alliance and Sun Biofuels demonstrates that even using very conservative assumptions on yields and other parameters, Sun Biofuels Mozambique is saving 39% of GHG compared to fossil fuels if the Jatropha biodiesel is produced in the UK. The now published GHG report also highlights the potential of Jatropha biodiesel to achieve a GHG saving of up to 73%.
In the context of a sustainability assessment on Jatropha biofuels in Mozambique the Jatropha Alliance commissioned Partners for Innovation to conduct an independent greenhouse gas life cycle calculation for Sun Biofuels Mozambique SA. The outcomes of these calculations have been independently reviewed by Robert Bailis, assistant professor at Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and Ignacio Pérez Domínguez from LEI Agricultural Economic Research in the Netherlands.
The amount of GHG savings achieved by Jatropha mainly depend on three factors: seed yield, oil yield and nitrogen fertilizer. A conservative base case scenario for locally produced Jatropha biodiesel assuming a seed yield of 3 tons of seeds per hectare, an oil yield of 0.24 tons of oil per ton of seed, and 44 kg of nitrogen fertilizer per ha per year already allows for 39% of GHG savings compared to fossil fuels. In case the biodiesel is used locally, this value goes up to 48%. Sun Biofuels Mozambique is targeting seed yield of 6t/ha/year, this raises the GHG savings to 65%. However the most influencing factor is nitrogen fertilizer. If Sun Biofuels Mozambique achieves to completely substitute nitrogen fertilizers by organic fertilizer (e.g. Jatropha seed cake) the GHG saving balance could go up to 73%.
The authors have also calculated the impact of land use change on GHG savings by using the default values from the European Commission. Sun Biofuels Mozambique cultivates perennial Jatropha on former annual cropland, thereby realizing significant GHG saving potential of 380%. This is due to the fact that trees are planted in place of idle land or perennial crops ‘fixing’ carbon in an additional CO2 sink.
The encouraging GHG savings of Jatropha make it an ideal source for biofuels for the aviation industry, who are pushing hard to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
First ever sustainability assessment of Jatropha plantations
Sustainability is a key success factor for biofuels. However, the Jatropha industry lacks experience in assessing the sustainability of the production of Jatropha. The project “Towards sustainability certification of Jatropha biofuels in Mozambique”, implemented by the Jatropha Alliance, now tackles this issue for the first time ever. The first outcome of this project is the now published report, which includes a comprehensive inventory of existing sustainability frameworks and an analytical selection of these standards for the pilot assessment in Mozambique.
Read the first newsletter 2010 of the Jatropha Alliance here.
Read the fourth newsletter of the Jatropha Alliance here.
The third newsletter of the Jatropha Alliance is available here.
Jatropha biofuel has potential to reduce hunger and to fight climate change
Biofuels are faced with heavy criticism, because most of them compete with food production and environmental protection. But there is hope. In its summer edition Biofuels Innovator highlights Jatropha as a sustainable alternative compared to first generation biofuels. The international Jatropha Alliance wants to stop the general demonization of biofuels and demands from politicians and NGOs a more differentiated discussion.
With the second newsletter, the Jatropha Alliance informs the Jatropha community about our current activities and upcoming events in the Jatropha industry. > Read Newsletter
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Jatropha Alliance welcomes test flights with Jatropha based jet fuel and calls on European airlines for cooperation
In times of climate change the airline industry is facing great challenges due to its large CO2 emissions. To tackle this issue, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced their will to cover 10% of the jet fuel need with alternative fuels until 2017.
The Jatropha Sustainable Biofuels Alliance is picking up speed. With the first newsletter, we are starting a systematic approach to inform the Jatropha community about our activities, events and relevant news for the industry.
The JatrophaWorld Conference in Kuala Lumpur marked a step towards industrial scale production of the new feedstock. Jatropha players are getting more professional and more and more research issues are being solved. But although Jatropha shows a good medium and long term investment prospect, financing proves to be difficult.