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D1 set up biofuels trial in Sumatra

837496_fuel_tank_gas_cap.jpgBiofuels have a bad name, but we’ve been following D1 Oils for a while through the splash-and-dash fuel stories.

The company, a UK producer of biofuels, is trialling the potential of  Jatropha curcas, its main biodiesel crop, in poor soil conditions on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia.

Jatropha is favoured by some people as a biofuel option because it absorbs a good amount of CO2 as it is grown, but can also yield around 2,000 barrels of oil per square mile per year. It is said on the web (and Greenbang doesn’t know this) it can boost the fertility of crappy soil so food could be grown in the future. There’s a nice little article on Jatropha on EcoWorld.

Back to D1, which says the trials will be in co-operation with University of Bengkulu (UNIB) in South West Sumatra, and will test the performance of jatropha in “ultisol” soil types, which are common in Indonesia. These acidic soils, which are deficient in plant nutrients, cannot generally be used without the aid of lime and other fertilisers and are easily exhausted.

D1 says Jatropha curcas is well adapted to poor quality soils, and with a balanced mixture of fertilizers, will grow well there. The trials will compare growth and yield of Jatropha curcas under different schemes of fertiliser application to see which works best.

The Indonesian trials are the latest in a series of partnerships that D1 is developing worldwide with the objective of gathering data to improve the cultivation and productivity of jatropha and other alternative biofuels crops in different regions, climates and soil conditions.

Jatropha sure is one to watch.

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