Study On Jatropha Sustainable For Aviation Fuel
By Eddy Metcalf
April 3, 2011 - Boeing released research conducted by
The study shows that, if cultivated properly, jatropha
can deliver strong environmental and socioeconomic
The Yale study, conducted from 2008-2010 and funded by
Boeing, used sustainability criteria developed by the
Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels to assess actual
farming conditions in
Unlike previous studies, which used theoretical inputs, the Yale team conducted extensive interviews with jatropha farmers and used field measurements to develop the first comprehensive sustainability analysis of actual projects.
supporting the current Mexican Government roadmap assessment on
aviation biofuels, "Plan de Vuelo," and this data will
contribute to that effort. The peer-reviewed data is applicable
to similar conditions in
jatropha projects included actual small- to large-scale farms
ranging from under ten hectares to more than several thousand
hectares. Yale researchers used a robust analytical framework to
compare land conditions before and after jatropha cultivation.
study finding identifies prior land-use as the most important
factor driving greenhouse gas benefits of a jatropha jet fuel.
If Jatropha is planted on land previously covered in forest,
shrubs or native grasses, benefits may disappear altogether. If
the crop is planted on land that was already cleared or
degraded, then additional carbon is stored and emissions
reductions can exceed the 60 percent baseline. This research
highlights that developers should pay particular attention to
prior land use when deciding where to locate jatropha projects.
important finding is that early jatropha projects suffered from
a lack of developed seed strains, which led to poor crop yields.
Advancing jatropha seed technology through private and
government research is critical and many Latin American
countries are now engaged in supporting such technology
identified dozens of jatropha farmers willing to participate in our
research, despite some challenges many encountered with this new crop.
For most, this was the first time anyone had studied their efforts,"
said Dr. Rob Bailis, assistant professor, Yale School of Forestry and
Environmental Studies. "Working with them allowed us to collect detailed
data needed to build a comprehensive picture including both positive and
negative aspects. Research like this is vital to helping developers to
deliver better social, environmental, and economic sustainability
outcomes from jatropha cultivation."
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