Monday, 28 February 2011

First UK Attempt At Growing Jatropha Germination Failure Rates

Having several years experience in growing Jatropha in warm climates I decided to try growing some Namibian Jatropha Seeds which when full grown should look like this....

Here is a seed taken from the Namibian research center you can see the husks that contained the Jatropha seed, the physic nut that produces the crude jatropha oil that goes to produce bio diesel and bio SPK for aviation fuel.

The husks can be used as fertilizer as can the glycerin byproduct from production of Bio Aviation Fuel, or sterilised and used as animal food, once the rycin has been removed. There is a non toxic Jatropha strain from Mexico which will be used for the next attempt to grow Jatropha in the UK.

 The Jatropha nut produces about 68% of its weight in crude jatropha oil (CJO) so you need about 3kg of Jatropha seeds to produce about 1 litre of Bio Diesel and 0.2 litre of Glycerin as well as the seed "cake" which can again be used for fertilizer of animal feed.

Only 15% of the CJO can be converted into Bio SPK (Synthetic Paraffin Kerosene) meaning that the worlds aviation industry should really pay attention to British Jatropha Growers - Worldwide as the UK government has been totally unsupportive of many UK based Jatropha Growing projects.

Jatropha seeds that are older than a year only have an 80% chance of germination, first the Jatropha nut from Namibia was soaked in water then left in tissue paper for several days.  

After the third day the seed had opened from here the tap root should fold out and push the first leaves and the seed casing towards the sun.... or that is how it is supposed to happen!

The seed pod fully opened, however the tap root failed and the pulp inside the seed case became mouldy and was thrown into the compost. Fortunately I was reminded of a 20 Nut sample that had been ordered from Mexico some time ago, lurking under a friends bed....

So the UK's First attempt at growing Jatropha is back at the germination phase, there is no point discussing soil types, nutrients etc at this stage until there are seedlings to put into the soil.

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