Biodiesel Being Made From Tree Nuts…What You Say?!?



Jatropha curcas, a tree shrub with biodiesel nuts.

The Jatropha plant profile.

Would you believe a new plant (tree) is being used to produce biodiesel to power engines and motors? Have you heard of the Jatropha tree, Jatropha Curcas? Biodiesel from a nut producing tree that will be a sustainable green fuel product. The nuts contain oil and after processing yields a clean biofuel alternative to diesel fuel. The Jatropha tree, native to Mexico and Latin America, has been grown in other countries, such as India and Africa, for fuel and medicine. It produces fruit with oily seeds that can be crushed to make biodiesel. Researchers say the Jatropha plant can produce four times more fuel per acre than soy, and 10 times more than corn.

Global production of biofuels is growing steadily and will continue to do so. The global biodiesel market is estimated to reach 37 billion gallons by 2016, growing at an average annual rate of 42 percent. The rapid development of the global biodiesel industry has been closely observed by countries interested in stimulating economic growth, improving the environment, and reducing dependency on imported oil. Developing Biofuels represents the most immediate and available response to at least five key challenges and opportunities:

  • Coping with record-high crude-oil prices;
  • The need for oil-importing countries to reduce their dependence on a limited number of exporting nations by diversifying their energy sources and suppliers;
  • The chance for emerging economies in tropical regions to supply the global energy market with competitively priced liquid biofuels;
  • Meeting growing energy demand in developing countries, in particular to support development in rural areas;
  • And the commitments taken to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions as part of the battle against climate change.

The Jatropha bush is being grown and processed in India and other Asian countries and the Centre for Jatropha Promotion and Biodiesel (CJP) is the Global authoritative Agency for scientific commercialization of Jatropha fuel crop. The CJP has focused on the development of Jatropha curcas and other non-food biodiesel crops. Their primary goal is to discover and develop high-yielding crops that generate the most bio-energy per hectare of land. They have identified and developed new elite varieties of feedstock crops optimized for production under different agro-climatic conditions, economic and social parameters. They would like to introduce us to JATROPHA and their related activities.



Advantages for using Jatropha Curcas:

  • Resistance to drought, can be planted in desert climates, it thrives on any type soil, grows almost anywhere, in sandy, gravelly, saline soils. (Wonder if it will grow well in Georgia red clay?)
  • Needs minimal management or care.
  • Has no insect pests and is not bothered by grazing cattle and sheep.
  • Propagation is easy, growth is rapid and forms a thick live hedge after a few month’s planting.
  • Starts yielding fruit after 2 years and continues for 40 years, more resistant to disease and can survive a 3 year drought.
  • After oil extraction, the nut shell, which are ground into a meal, makes an excellent organic manure (38% protein, N:P;K ratio 2.7:1.2:1).
  • Quickly establishes itself and will produce seed year round if irrigated.
  • The leaf and bark are used for other industrial and pharmaceutical uses.
  • Approximately 31-37% of oil is extracted from the Jatropha Curcas seed. The oil can be used for any diesel engine without modification.
  • Lower cost than other organic fuels being produced.


Several companies in the U.S. are growing seedlings of Jatropha Curcas for planting. There are approximately 1.2 million trees planted in Southwest Florida. All of the seedlings have been sold out for this year, but millions of plants are being grown for later plantings. This plant certainly would mean we can use less oil when production gets into full swing for this product.


The answers for the U.S. weaning off our oil addition will be the new entrepreneurial companies that are willing to take a chance on new start-up ventures involving different types of fuel production that utilizes a green organic base for producing fuels. America has waited on Congress for 30 years to make decisions about energy and fuel policies, but all we get is rhetoric and nothing has been done.

As a country, we have turned to corn ethanol as a possible solution, but it’s hard to harvest corn when it is 3-4 feet in standing water and due to cool weather and excessive rain, the 2008 crop will probably be 40-50% less than anticipated. Also, corn ethanol has played havoc with increased food prices. These new fuels have to be non-competitive with food crops such as corn, soy beans, wheat and other grains. How much is gasoline and diesel costing you today?

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

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12 Responses to Biodiesel Being Made From Tree Nuts…What You Say?!?

  1. Matthew McDermott June 20, 2008 at 2:47 pm #

    In answer to whether JCL will grow in Georgia the answer is yes it will grow but will promptly die off at the slightest sign of frost. JCL can survive drought but not cold.
    The only areas of the US suitable for cultivation are southernmost Florida. Global warming may change that in the future…

  2. Dr Andew Price June 22, 2008 at 8:22 am #

    Dear Sir,

    I should like to introduce myself to you. I am Dr. Andrew J. Price of Bio Tech Oils UK Ltd. We are a UK based company, and are producers of bio-fuels.

    I am currently looking for sources of rapeseed oil, uco/wvo, cottonseed oil, soya oil, Jatropha and similar oils for our refinery, as a feedstock to produce bio-diesel.

    I would like to know if you could supply such oil, and what quantities would be available? Could you please forward any information you have on your available bulk oil products, specifically:

    1) Type of oil available, e.g. rapeseed, cottonseed, soya, jatropha
    2) Price of oil and transaction currency requirement, also whether CIF etc
    3) Transportation options, e.g. ISO tanks, and approximate delivery times

    In terms of our own requirements, we currently need 100 MT of oil per week to supply our recent plant expansion. If there is a minimum order above this amount then please let me know, as I am sure something could be arranged.

    Kind regards,

    Andrew Price

  3. June 25, 2008 at 7:47 pm #

    @Matthew McDermott: Thank you for your comment. Why do you think global warming will change or effect the growing area for Jatropha Curcas?

  4. Todd June 29, 2008 at 9:14 pm #

    There are exciting times. It’s only a matter of time before we say goodbye to traditional oil!

  5. June 30, 2008 at 4:35 pm #

    @Todd: Thanks for your comments. We agree, its time we get the biomass bandwagon rolling to say goodbye to our oil addiction. Only when the citizens who want to see the U.S. break the chains of oil addiction and get behind the renewable biofuels will this happen. Say NO TO Corn Ethanol.

  6. Tom from Keaau July 3, 2008 at 7:18 pm #

    What makes you think Global Warming is even real, that we can control it, if it is, or that we’ll anytime soon be off of oil.

    I believe that biodiesal and these alternatives are healthy industries that should be developed, and if biodiesal can be produced for 45 dollars a barrel without a high energy cost, that is a huge bonus. Hawaii is another place that could grow this plant.

    Palm oil grows here as well….

    What I’d be interested in, is how much can you really produce of this stuff and is it efficient?



  7. Karlton Stone July 3, 2008 at 9:02 pm #

    What is the smallest commercial farm that would be practical for the growing of Atropha in South West Florida

  8. July 5, 2008 at 5:21 pm #

    @Tom from Keaau: Thanks for your comments. I agree with you. The biofuels will have to be developed over a period of time and be cost efficient. Am seeing some of this with the Kudzunol process, ethanol from Kudzu. Also, I found this article that appeared in a Hawaiian Newspaper:

    Oil will be around for a long time, but biofuels made from local feedstocks will eventually supply local communities. This has to and will happen all over the U.S.

  9. July 5, 2008 at 5:24 pm #

    @Karlton Stone: Thank you for your comments. Right now, several farms are using 10 acre plots to grow Jatropha Curcas.

  10. pete August 31, 2008 at 4:15 am #

    Can old beer be made into some sort of bio-fuel? No joke. Expired beer is tossed in landfills every day. Seems like there should be some sort of process to extract the alcohol out and turn it into fuel…….

  11. September 1, 2008 at 4:26 pm #

    @Pete: Thanks for your comments.
    Yes, old beer can be made into ethanol Also, left over alcoholic drinks, even with soda can be converted to ethanol. Just need sugar content of 12% or higher to recycle into ethanol for fuel. even if you mix the drinks and beer, no problem. Old liquor and spent liquor is being used in whiskey plants for making steam to heat distillation operations. Garbage in landfills, including stale beer, is being converted into ethanol. The processes will eventually be used all over the country and this is progress for biofuels which gets rid of the garbage waste resulting in a sustainable fuel. Remember the tomato scare earlier this summer? Every pound of tomatoes that was destroyed, because the government thought was contaminated with salmonella bacteria, could have been converted into ethanol. This should have been done. Check out about the tomatoes that was destroyed from previous post on Chemically Green


  1. Is Jatropha Curcas Biodiesel Losing out to Algae Biodiesel? - November 12, 2008

    […] A recent post on Chemically Green “The Truth About Jatropha Curcas” lists the pros and cons for growing Jatropha Curcas. India, which has researched extensively in growing Jatropha, has been investing heavily in Jatropha Curcas for biofuel production for their own automobile transportation. Early reports on Jatropha Curcas stated this bush could be grown on marginal land and little irrigation and this has not proven to be factual. Check out: “Biodiesel Being Made from Tree Nuts”. […]

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