A bio mass poisonous weed

Times:

The jatropha bush seems an unlikely prize in the hunt for alternative energy, being an ugly, fast-growing and poisonous weed. Hitherto, its use to humanity has principally been as a remedy for constipation. Very soon, however, it may be powering your car.

Almost overnight, the unloved Jatropha curcushas become an agricultural and economic celebrity, with the discovery that it may be the ideal biofuel crop, an alternative to fossil fuels for a world dangerously dependent on oil supplies and deeply alarmed by the effects of global warming.

The hardy jatropha, resilient to pests and resistant to drought, produces seeds with up to 40 per cent oil content. When the seeds are crushed, the resulting jatropha oil can be burnt in a standard diesel car, while the residue can also be processed into biomass to power electricity plants.

As the search for alternative energy sources gathers pace and urgency, the jatropha has provoked something like a gold rush. Last week BP announced that it was investing almost £32 million in a jatropha joint venture with the British biofuels company D1 Oils.

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I may have to look into this weed. If there is one thing I have been able to grow on my acreage, it is weeds. I can trade in my truck for a diesel model and be all set. Perhaps I can also invest in a diesel generator and really save some money. I need to check with the ag guys over at Texas A&M on this, with a school song that includes the words "farmers fight" they ought to be given a chance with this crop.

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