Biodiesel is vegetable oil- or animal fat-based diesel fuel consisting of long-chain alkyl esters. It is used as a blend to Petro Diesel and denoted by B factor. This means that 100% biodiesel is referred to as B100, while 20% biodiesel, 80% petro diesel is labeled B20. Similarly 5% biodiesel, 95% petro diesel is labeled B5.
Global biodiesel production was around 4 million tons in 2006 and around 85% of biodiesel production came from the European Union.
There are 175 species of Jatropha plant that belongs to family Euphorbiacae. In 2007 Goldman Sachs cited Jatropha curcas as one of the best species for future biodiesel production and from here it began getting popular. The Jatropha plant is resistant to drought and pests, and produces seeds containing 27-40% oil.
In India, Jatropha is known as Ratanjot shows resemblance with castor. Apart from Ratanjot, about nine species are reported out of which Jatropha Curcus has economic value by virtue of oil present in its seed. The Govt. of India and Planning Commission are emphasizing on alternative fuels as a result the area under Jatropha cultivation is catching up. The oil finds many applications in various industries like soaps, illuminants and paints.
SDAUJ I (Chatrapati)
In 2006, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research identified first ever Jatropha variety, SDAUJ I (Chatrapati) with higher oil content and yield for commercial cultivation. The seeds contain 49.2 per cent oil and the non-edible protein in defatted seed case is 47.8 per cent.
Farmers can get an average yield of 1000-1100 kg per hectare under rainfed conditions. The ICAR recommended it for the semi-arid and arid regions of Gujarat and Rajasthan. It is drought resistant and can be raised successfully in areas where annual rainfall is 300-500mm. The plant attains a height up to 8 feet and shows resistance to all major pests.
SDAUJ I (Chatrapati) is developed by Sardarkrushinagar based Sardarkrushinagar Dantiwada Agricultural University (SDAU). The other parts of Jataropha i.e. leaves, roots and latex are also useful in traditional medicine.
An alkaloid derived from Jatropha plant i.e. crucin shows anticancer properties.