China Shrub Shows Biofuel Promise
China’s poisonous jatropha shrub is showing promise as biofuel and could boost the country’s efforts to reduce dependency on imported crude oil.
In the past, farmers planted the poisonous perennial only as a barrier to ward off animals from their fields. But Hong Kong-invested Shenyu New Energy Co. Ltd. sees the lush green shrub as a great moneymaker, with the potential to generate $59 million in annual sales.
…By 2008, Shenyu had 49,445 acres of jatropha in the province of Yunnan. The company hopes to develop 82,410 acres of the shrub in 2010, Gou said. To help reach that target, Shenyu has enlisted 320 households in the Yunnan town of Yongxing to plant 3,303 acres of jatropha.
…Shenyu is building a $9.5 million jatropha oil processing plant expected to be online by the middle of this year. Initially, the factory will produce 3,000 tons of biodiesel annually. Gou said the site has the potential to produce 100,000 tons annually at full capacity but there is not enough jatropha to process just yet.
…(David) Wang, (president of Boeing China) noted that if China could transform 12.4 million acres of the country’s wasteland into jatropha plantations by 2020, the country’s biofuel production could replace 40 percent of the current global aviation jet fuel demand. READ MORE