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Current partners in plant research projects are Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR), RR Energy and Plant Research International. These partners are involved in the Jatropha evaluation, breeding and propagation (JEP) programme.
FACT in cooperation with Plant Health Care plc has started trials with mycorrhizae in its Mali project. The objective is to find out whether application of mycorrhizae and components that activate these can increase Jatropha seed yields. The experiments have started in 2008 and the first results are expected by autumn 2009.
FACT - University Research
Other research projects supported by FACT have been carried out by students at Eindhoven University of Technology. Topics are e.g. the extraction of oil, the conversion to biodiesel, and the combustion characteristics of plant oil. Several publications on these issues are included in the Media Library. Below you will find a short summary of these projects.
Dual fuel diesel engine for Jatropha oil and biogas
This thesis work is a technical feasibility study to the use of biogas and Jatropha oil in a diesel generator in dual fuel mode in developing countries. In this study tests will be performed on a diesel generator set in order to investigate possibilities and feasibility. Parameters that will be investigated are engine efficiency and emissions using different ratios of biogas and Jatropha oil and using differing biogas compositions.
This technology could be important for rural development and poverty reduction in regions where Jatropha oil (or another energy crop) is or can be produced. When Jatropha oil is produced large amounts of press cake will be left as a side product; this press cake still contains a lot of energy which can be recovered by digesting it and producing biogas. In this way both the oil and press cake can be used to produce energy/electricity for a rural area which can lead to poverty reduction and improved living conditions.
Pressing of Jatropha seeds
Much of the attention for Jatropha rightly focuses on Jatropha potential and cultivation issues. The next step should be to focus on possibilities to remove the oil from the Jatropha seeds and how to practically arrange this in tropical areas. The option studied in this thesis work is mechanical expression of oil in various types of screw presses.
The study considered the extent to which quality is affected by temperature and moisture levels during pressing. Various press settings and seed pretreatments were tested in the Netherlands and Tanzania to determine their effect on oil yield. Next to this technological research other aspects like economics for various production scales and local circumstances in developing countries were taken into account.
The report answers amongst others the following questions: Which amount of oil is generally present in Jatropha seeds? Does it vary with the origin of the seeds? What percentage of the oil can be removed from the seeds by mechanical screw pressing? What is the effect of mechanical expression on oil quality?
Decentralised Electricity System
In Mali a decentralised electricity system is being installed in a rural village, Garalo. Three 100 kW generators will supply 400 households, enterprises and community service buildings. Also over a thousand hectares of Jatropha plants are planted and as soon as these plants give seeds the generators will run on Jatropha oil.
To supply customers with electricity a distribution network is necessary. For a good running project it is important that all basic equipment is working. Therefore the electricity network installed in Garalo will be explored. Taking into account planned activities concerning the grid and possible expansion in consumption of the customers a computer simulation will show the strong and possibly weak spots of the grid. Possible solutions will be given to strengthen this network, where finance will be an important factor. Also recommendations for installation of future projects will be given.
FACT has collaborated with several research institutes working in the area of biofuels. These organisations are listed below:
Plant production systems (Jatropha curcas)
|Leuven University ||Belgium ||Jatropha Life Cycle Analysis|
|University of Florida ||USA||Jatropha varieties and agronomy|
|FHIA||Honduras||Jatropha Agronomic research|
|University of Groningen||Netherlands||Biotechnology Jatropha|
|Norwegian University of life sciences||Norway||Jatropha plant breeding|
|Newcastle University||England||Plant genetics|
|University of Agriculture, Florence||Italy||Jatropha plant production systems|
|CSM CRI||India||Agronomy, artificial plant propagation|
|Hohenheim University||Germany||Use of presscake as livestock feed (detoxification), Production and use of Jatropha oil and shells, Economic analysis|
The following organisations focus on the conversion of biomass into liquid, gaseous or solid energy carriers.
|SNV||Netherlands||Biogas/ Anaerobic digestion and implementation in developing countries|
Use of biofuels
These institutes focus on different applications and (new) technologies contributing to efficient use of biofuels.
|DAJOLKA, Niels Ansø||Denmark||Engine adaptation|
|KU Leuven||Belgium||Life Cycle Analysis of Jatropha|