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Published on August 19th, 2008 | by Clayton

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India Sets Aside 40% of Regional Wasteland for Jatropha Biodiesel Production


jatropha podagrica

[social_buttons] By 2012, a large portion of India’s Uttar Pradesh region will be converted into Jatropha, a non-edible oil-seed crop that can be grown on marginal land.

40% of recently set aside “wasteland” in India’s populous norther region will be put into Jatropha production in the next few years, according to sources within the country. That makes for an estimated 26,721 hectares (about 66,000 acres) of land that will be converted into biodiesel crop production.

Jatropha is a member of the plant family Euphorbiacea, which is famous for tropical succulents that contain a number of highly toxic but useful compounds. Seeds from Jatropha can contain up to 40% oil, but productivity for domesticated plants varies. Estimates peg oil production yield around 58-73 US gallons per acre. Based on the estimated land use above, India could be growing anywhere from 3.8 to 4.8 million gallons of oil per year in a few years.

It’s unclear what the large-scale impacts of Jatropha cultivation will be (as is the definition of “wasteland”), but the plant could significantly contribute to India’s explicit (and incredibly optimistic) goal of reaching energy independence by 2012.

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Photo Credit: jatropha podagrica, MyAngelG via Flickr under Creative Commons License


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About the Author

In a past life, Clayton was a professional blogger and editor of Gas 2.0, Important Media’s blog covering the future of sustainable transportation. He was also the Managing Editor for GO Media, the predecessor to Important Media.



  • Michel

    I like to see India pushing the limits on jatropha biodiesel. If they can become a country model they way brasil has for ethanol from sugarcane and biodiesel from soy, then other countries will be able to follow suit.

  • Michel

    I like to see India pushing the limits on jatropha biodiesel. If they can become a country model they way brasil has for ethanol from sugarcane and biodiesel from soy, then other countries will be able to follow suit.

  • Uncle B

    Expect to see Alberta’s Tar Sands to boom shortly, and anticipate a dangerous nuclear fission-fire to be lighted there as well, just to process the oil! Oil is rising in price on the market as we speak,and once again, nobody knows why? Electric cars will be in vogue soon, ushered in by the hybrids and plug-ins, but where are the super-trains Obama alluded to? Has he forgotten already, the plan for intercity travel by 400 % efficient steel-wheeled trains? The sooner the heavy freight leaves the highways the safer for the battery cars, the sooner the big long-distance cars leave the highways the better for the carbon fiber and polymer composite tandem super-commuters! The less the oil demand from Asia, the more time for the Americas to convert to the new paradigm, and having India grow some of its own oil, along with China making a similar effort, and the Americas concentrating on Algae based bio-diesel in the southern states where such fast growth is possible, and Hemp oil from the northern climates, the world may just nicely accommodate the loss of the cheap oil era, and move into a biologically based, timed and paced consumption of fuels, more sustainable in nature, and humanity will be less likely to afford the luxury of great wars! Iraq the last great reservoir is going to world markets at world prices and will sustain us just long enough to reach a point of balance needed throughout the world. Solar, wind, wave, hydro, tidal, bio-mass, and geothermal, our only perpetual or renewable, as you wish, sources of energy will thereafter be relied upon for our very survival!

  • Uncle B

    Expect to see Alberta’s Tar Sands to boom shortly, and anticipate a dangerous nuclear fission-fire to be lighted there as well, just to process the oil! Oil is rising in price on the market as we speak,and once again, nobody knows why? Electric cars will be in vogue soon, ushered in by the hybrids and plug-ins, but where are the super-trains Obama alluded to? Has he forgotten already, the plan for intercity travel by 400 % efficient steel-wheeled trains? The sooner the heavy freight leaves the highways the safer for the battery cars, the sooner the big long-distance cars leave the highways the better for the carbon fiber and polymer composite tandem super-commuters! The less the oil demand from Asia, the more time for the Americas to convert to the new paradigm, and having India grow some of its own oil, along with China making a similar effort, and the Americas concentrating on Algae based bio-diesel in the southern states where such fast growth is possible, and Hemp oil from the northern climates, the world may just nicely accommodate the loss of the cheap oil era, and move into a biologically based, timed and paced consumption of fuels, more sustainable in nature, and humanity will be less likely to afford the luxury of great wars! Iraq the last great reservoir is going to world markets at world prices and will sustain us just long enough to reach a point of balance needed throughout the world. Solar, wind, wave, hydro, tidal, bio-mass, and geothermal, our only perpetual or renewable, as you wish, sources of energy will thereafter be relied upon for our very survival!

  • http://www.thebaldchemist.com The Baldchemist

    In a World with dangerous shortages of food and water this is a terrible move with dire consequences.

    Who is going to grow crops and vegetables when Fuel is more profitable?

    What a short sighted decision which will have a terible effect on India and its people.

    Where is the water coming from? Where is the food coming from?

    Start looking after your people first. There is no sound reason other than greed for this move.

  • http://www.thebaldchemist.com The Baldchemist

    In a World with dangerous shortages of food and water this is a terrible move with dire consequences.

    Who is going to grow crops and vegetables when Fuel is more profitable?

    What a short sighted decision which will have a terible effect on India and its people.

    Where is the water coming from? Where is the food coming from?

    Start looking after your people first. There is no sound reason other than greed for this move.

  • http://www.thebaldchemist.com The Baldchemist

    Take a look at Indonesia where they chopped down rain forest to grow Palm oil plants.

  • http://www.thebaldchemist.com The Baldchemist

    Take a look at Indonesia where they chopped down rain forest to grow Palm oil plants.

  • http://www.thebaldchemist.com The Baldchemist

    Take a look at Indonesia where they chopped down rain forest to grow Palm oil plants.

  • vardendra. kulkarni

    This is really fantastic business opportunity and this is my future too. i would like to see india as an oil surplus country with little dependence on imported oil which will make india a stronger country

  • vardendra. kulkarni

    This is really fantastic business opportunity and this is my future too. i would like to see india as an oil surplus country with little dependence on imported oil which will make india a stronger country

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