Project aims to achieve synergy in developing Jatropha as a bio-fuel crop

The Centre of Excellence in Bio-fuels of the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University has been selected as one of the networking partners in the European Union funded project “JATROPT – Jatropha curcas: Applied and Technological Research in Plant Trials” for four years.

According to Vice-Chancellor of the university P. Murugesa Boopathi, the project will be executed with an outlay of Euros 1,15,937 (Rs.69.56 lakh). It will be co-ordinated by the Plant Research International, Wageningen, Netherlands.

The European Union project involves nine countries, viz., Brazil, France, Gautemala, India, Madagascar, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

M. Paramathma, Director of Research, TNAU, would be the principal investigator and project management team member in India. “Jatropha shows immense potential towards producing sustainable and affordable bio-fuels. Several groups are working independently for the development of both agro-systems and high quality germplasm of Jatropha, and downstream processing and bio-diesel markets,” he said.

However, the challenges were to make the expectations of high oil yield, low competition with food crops, use in various agro-systems from monoculture plantations, to mixed cropping and use in hedges around agricultural fields.