Jatropha project in India making forward strides

Joil, a scientific bioenergy crop developer focused on a new generation of jatropha, has achieved an average seed yield of 3.53 tonnes per hectare in the third year of its large-scale field trials in India.

The company claims the yield will be 4.42 tonnes per hectare unpruned. These results place Joil’s jatropha varieties on track to deliver a projected  yield of more than 4.5 tonnes per hectare in year four.

The trials were conducted on JO S1 and JO S2, two open-pollinated jatropha varieties shown to have high uniformity and productivity over three generations.

‘The results of these trials take jatropha closer to commercial viability, which we believe is within two years from now, once a yield of five tonnes of seeds per hectare is achieved,’ says Srinivasan Ramachandran, Joil’s chief technology officer. ‘Above all, this progress continues to signal the promise it can fulfil under these conditions away from its earlier disappointments.’

The trials are being conducted across sites located in southern part of Tamil Nadu, totalling 35 hectares, but the company says it will expand its field trial programme across sites in Africa and south-east Asia.

‘A memorandum of understanding with Agritech Faso, an alternative energy grower in west Africa, will start the development of 250,000 hectares of jatropha plantations intercropped with food crops,’ adds Ramachandran.

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