Sunday, July 12, 2009


Last month, while talking to a friend about Hawaii’s energy independence, I heard about the Jatropha tree. The Jatropha curcas tree is famous for its seeds - also called Barbados nut, Jungle Erandi, and Physic nut - which are considered an excellent source of bio-fuel due to their high percentage of oil content. The Jatropha tree is easy to grow, lives a long time, and the oil from its seeds can power diesel engines and aircraft without having to be refined.

The prospect of growing aircraft fuel was very exciting, so I gleefully took the seeds I was given and ran out to buy the supplies needed to plant them. Much to my delight, the seeds grew quickly into plants.

But further investigation about the plant, toned down my excitement. I discovered that the seeds are very toxic as are the leaves, the stems, and the mash left over after crushing the seeds to get the oil. Jatropha contains highly toxic cyanic acid in the seeds and carcinogenic substances in all parts of the plant. The yellow oil is aptly called Hell oil. Three year old plantations in India have shown that the claims about Jatropha being able to grow in poor, arid soil without the need for fertilizer or pesticides are not true. Their yields have been paltry in dry regions as opposed to over 3 times better when irrigated and fertilized like food crops. These poor yields in India mean the cost per gallon of Jatropha bio-fuel is higher than the cost of conventional gasoline and diesel. Worse, Jatropha plantations have caused health problems for the farmers working with the plants and children eating the tasty seeds. Jatropha fields near lakes have killed off fish populations and caused ecological problems in other areas. Eating the seeds causes vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and a burning sensation in the throat. It turns out my little aircraft fuel plants were toxic to my garden and me.

The realization that bio-fuel could create a toxic environment changed my view of plants. What is the point of bio-fuel if growing it damages the ecosphere? Isn’t supporting the environment one of the most important aspects of replacing petroleum production with bio-fuels?

This revelation led me to search for a Healthy bio-fuel and my discovery of the Moringa tree, which is known as “The Miracle Tree”. Moringa oleifera leaves are highly nutritious, said to prevent over 300 diseases, and have high concentrations of protein, vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, and calcium as well as a host of other vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Moringa seeds from mature pods can be browned, mashed and placed in boiling water to extract an excellent cooking or lubricating oil that floats to the surface. The oil does not become rancid and was once sold as Ben Oil. The tree is being planted all over the world as a primary food source for people because it is drought hardy and grows quickly.

In the Philipines – where Morianga is called Malungai – they have set up a manufacturing plant to use the oil harvested from the Moringa seeds to produce bio-diesel. Visiting MIT graduate students found the resulting bio-fuel had superior properties including fuel stability, good ignition behavior, and suitability even during winter. In addition to the income potential to farmers growing the plant for bio-fuel every part of the plant has commercial value including the mash leftover from the crushed seeds which makes an excellent feed for livestock.

My brief experience with bio-fuels has taught me that all green things are not necessarily non-toxic and non-destructive to people and the environment. And at the same time, there is the potential for the right bio-fuel plants to be a far greater benefit to the people and environment than just the fuel produced from plants. The right bio-fuel source can provide food, medicine, livestock feed, and great value to a local environment and economy. I am now in search of the Miracle Moringa seeds or starters to start my own garden of curative, healthy, beneficial bio-fuel plants.


Anonymous said...

There is a massive project in Jamaica going on,growing the jatropa tree.
Jatropa may not be the best plant to grow in western nations, but Jamaica is the poorest country in the western hemishere, so some compromises have to be accomadoated.

Roger said...

Aloha. I've said it for over 22 years and I'll say it again; Cannabis hemp is one of, if not the best sources of bio-mass per acre on Earth. In 1898 there was a record harvest of hemp in Hawai'i - 26 tons per acre. Information published in The U.S.S. Boston in Hawai'i.

Cannabis hemp also provides an edible seed that's highly nutritious, and flowers that are most useful for medicinal and sacramental purposes. The plant's got it all. For some of the history you might have missed check out < >.

All the best to you,

Roger Christie, Founder

THC Ministry


Moringa seeds said...

The biodeisel program of the government is very much convincing and it is very significant in the long run for us , the possibilities that time will come we will no longer dependent to other crude oil supplier country.

You can check this link too moringa seeds

Kentbiofuel said...


Great Blog! Jatropha is a good second generation feedstock, however there is not enough first generation fuel being used.

This short video explains how anyone anywhere can refine their own biofuel

I have really been inspired to do more by your site!

Warm Regards,


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