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Sent: 25 November 2008 09:30
Subject: 36: Biotechnology applications and Jatropha curcas
I am Dr. Vijendra P.S. Shekhawat, Biotechnology Department, at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Applied Sciences (MGIAS), Jaipur, India. Earlier, I was associated with the Energy Plantation Demonstration Project Centre, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, India. I worked for the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) India Micro-mission Project on Biofuel. Later I worked on large scale commercial plantations of Jatropha.
Biotechnology Applications and Jatropha curcas: Making Biodiesel Production Economically Feasible
At first I wish to express my sincere thanks to FAO for organizing this miraculous conference. Contributions have really been precious and informative.
I wish to share some of my experiences, following need to be addressed before recommending Jatropha curcas as a biodiesel crop:
1. High capital input for establishment of plantations
2. Scarcity of uniform planting material (i.e. seeds only; cuttings are not an appropriate planting material) (Needed- Role of Biotechnology !!!)
3. No precise yield estimation
4. A very long gestation period (Needed- Role of Biotechnology !!!)
5. Large land area requirement - At least 15000 ha will be required for an economically sustainable production system of Jatropha (assuming a yield of 1.5 kg/per plant yield after 5 yrs).
6. Problems associated with monoculture of Jatropha. (Needed- Role of Biotechnology !!!)
7. Exploration of crops for co-cultivation with Jatropha curcas, this is a must requirement to make Jatropha plantations economically feasible. (Needed- Role of Biotechnology !!!)
8. Besides biodiesel, possibilities to produce some commercially attractive co-products from Jatropha plantations. Like bio-insecticides for organic agriculture, Curcin based products, utilization of large amount of glycerin produced etc. (Needed -Role of Biotechnology !!!)
9. Irrigation will always be required to have optimum yield, it is not possible to grow Jatropha without enough moisture. (Objective is not only to keep the Jatropha plant alive but to harvest an economically feasible yield. (Needed- Role of Biotechnology !!!)
10. Precise calculations for energy balance
11. Government policies related to land allotment to industries.
12. From industry point of view, it cannot be produced through small scale farmers/contract farming or as hedge on field border. No prudent industry will be attracted towards such a practice.
Dr. Vijendra Pratap Singh Shekhawat
Department of Biotechnology
Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Applied Sciences
JECRC Campus, Opp. EPIP Gate
Tonk Road, Jaipur
E- mail. vijendrapss (at) yahoo.com
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