Fritz Eilersen Company Ltd.
Registered Company in Sierra Leone

Fritz Eilersen Innovation
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Jatropha - Plant


Jatropha Curcas

Biodiesel production in Sierra Leone

The Jatropha Curcas is a drought resistant oleaginous bushy shrub/tree belongs to the family of Euphorbiaceous and its oily seeds can produce 5–10 times of oil that its got from the common vegetable oil sources like soya bean and corn. One hectare of Jatropha plantation can produce around 500 gallons of biodiesel per year from its physic nuts along with more than 3500 kilograms of waste biomass.

Bio Diesel

The Next Generation Sustainable Fuel


What is Bio Diesel?

The concept dates back to 1885 when Dr. Rudolf Diesel built the first diesel engine with the full intention of running it on vegetative source.

He first displayed his engine at the Paris show of 1900 and astounded everyone when he ran the patented engine on any hydrocarbon fuel available - which included gasoline and peanut oil. In 1912 he stated “… the use of vegetable oils for engine fuels may seem insignificant today. But such oils may in the course of time become as important as petroleum and the coal tar products of present time."

Scientists discovered that the viscosity (thickness) of vegetable oils could be reduced in a simple chemical process. In 1970 and that, it could work well as diesel fuel in modern engine.

This fuel is called Bio - Diesel.

Since than the technical developments have largely been completed. Plant oil is highly valued as Bio fuel "Diesel" and transformed into Bio Diesel in most industrialised

Please note!!

* This vegetable oil can be used as it is crushed

* This vegetable oil can be blended with normal diesel and used in cars.

* This vegetable oil can be refined and sold as pure diesel

* Refined it can be exported as a clean fuel to anywhere in the world.

Biodiesel is produced from a variety of feedstocks,including soybean oil (United States), palm oil (Malaysia), rapeseed and sunflower oil (Europe) and Jatropha oil(India).The feedstock for biodiesel undergoes an esterification process, which removes glycerin and allows the oil to perform like traditional diesel. Although biodiesel has been produced and used in stationary applications (heat and power generation) for nearly a century, its use as a transportation fuel is recent. Bio Diesel is as substitute for, or an additive to diesel

It is an alternative fuel that can be used in diesel engines and provides power similar to conventional diesel fuel.

Bio Diesel is a renewable domestically produced liquid fuel that can help reduce the countries dependence on foreign oil imports.

Recent environmental and economic concerns (Kyoto Protocol) have prompted resurgence in the use of biodiesel throughout the world. In 1991, the European Community, (EC) Proposed a 90% tax reduction for the use of bio fuels, including biodiesel.

To day, 21 countries worldwide produce Biodiesel.

The Advantages of Bio Diesel

Bio Diesel is the most valuable form of renewable energy that can be used directly in any existing, unmodified diesel engine.

Energy Independence: Considering that oil priced at $60 per barrel has had a disproportionate impact on the poorest countries, 38 of which are net importers and 25 of Which import all of their oil; the question of trying to achieve greater energy independence one day through the development of biofuels has become one of ‘when’ rather than ‘if,’ and, now on a near daily basis, a biofuels programme is being launched somewhere in the developing world.

Smaller Trade Deficit: Rather than importing other countries’ ancient natural resources, we could be using our own living resources to power our development and enhance our economies. Instead of looking to the Mideast for oil, the world could look to the tropics for biofuels.  producing more biofuels will save foreign exchange and reduce energy expenditures and allow developing countries to put more of their resources into health, education and other services for their neediest citizens.

Economic Growth: Biofuels create new markets for agricultural products and stimulate rural development because biofuels are generated from crops; they hold enormous potential for farmers. In the near future—especially for the two-thirds of the people in the developing world who derive their incomes from agriculture.

Today, many of these farmers are too small to compete in the global market, especially with the playing field tilted against them through trade distorting agricultural subsidies. They are mostly subsistence farmers who, in a good year, produce enough to feed their families, and in a bad year, grow even poorer or starve. But biofuels have enormous potential to change this situation for the better.

At the community level, farmers that produce dedicated energy crops can grow their incomes and grow their own supply of affordable and reliable energy.

At the national level, producing more biofuels will generate new industries, new technologies, new jobs and new markets.

Cleaner Air: Biofuels burn more cleanly than gasoline and diesel. Using bio fuels means producing fewer emissions of carbon monoxide, particulates, and toxic chemicals that cause smog, aggravate respiratory and heart disease, and contribute to thousands of premature deaths each year.

Less Global Warming: Biofuels contain carbon that was taken out of the atmosphere by plants and trees as they grew. The Fossil fuels are adding huge amounts of stored carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere, where it traps the Earth's heat like a heavy blanket and causes the world to warm. Studies show that biodiesel reduces CO2 emissions to a considerable extent and in some cases all most nearly to zero.

In nut-shell:

Bio Diesel is environmental friendly and ideal for heavily polluted cities.

Bio Diesel is as biodegradable as salt

Bio Diesel produces 80% less carbon dioxide and 100% less sulfur dioxide emissions. It provides a 90% reduction in cancer risks.

Bio Diesel can be used alone or mixed in any ratio with mineral oil diesel fuel. The preferred ratio if mixture ranges between 5 and 20% (B5 - B20)

Bio Diesel extends the live of diesel engines

Bio Diesel is cheaper then mineral oil diesel

Bio Diesel is conserving natural resources

The Process

The process of converting vegetable oil into biodiesel fuel is called Transesterification and is luckily less complex then it sounds.

Chemically, Transesterification means taking a triglyceride molecule or a complex fatty acid, neutralizing the free fatty acids, removing the glycerin, and creating an alcohol ester. This is accomplished by mixing methanol with sodium hydroxide to make sodium methoxide. This liquid is then mixed into the vegetable oil. After the mixture has settled, Glycerin is left on the bottom and methyl esters, or biodiesel is left on top and is washed and filtered.

The final product Bio Diesel fuel, when used directly in a Diesel Engine will burn up to 75% cleaner then mineral oil Diesel fuel.

The Technology

The technology is mature and proven

Presently, the indigenously designed bio-fuel plant for 600 lt /day is in operation. We have to design and develop bio-fuel plants of 3 to 10 tones per day capacity for installation in different parts of the country. Effective marketing chain needs to be planned for enabling farmers to reap the benefits directly. Bio-fuel mission will provide technological and employment generation focuses for the rural sector. Use of eleven million hectares of wasteland for Jetropha cultivation can lead to generation of minimum twelve million jobs

The Cost

The cost of Bio Diesel is largely dependent on the choice of feedstock and the size of the production facility.

Capital costs for biodiesel production facilities are similar to those for ethanol facilities, ranging from $9,800 to $29,000 (2004 dollars) per daily barrel of capacity, depending on size of the production facility. Further it is largely dependent on the choice of feedstock. If Jatropha feedstock is used, the fuel will cost depending on the country approximately US $ 0, 40 per liter plus taxes when applicable.






Rate per barrel(US$)

















The main competitor of Jatropha oil is palm oil but while palm oil is currently prized as a future source for biodiesel, it is increasingly in the spotlight for environmental issues. Given that, Jatropha is a non-edible, its cultivation doesn’t impact the supply or prices of food crops. As such jatropha appears to be best and cheapest  feedstock for Biodiesel production.

 India currently uses about 40m tones of diesel a year but the country has a vast amount of wasteland. Therefore, with a yield of 3.0 tones of biodiesel from Jatropha per hectares, if India planted Jatropha on 20m hectares It could produce all of its current demand

 International Laws and regulation

Several countries have active Biodiesel programmes. Such countries also have given legislative support and have drawn up national polices on biodiesel development. Wide variety of motives for action taken can observe like

Increase of energy supply security

Reduction of dependence on fossil energy forms

Reduction of harmful locally acting emissions.

Protection of soil by biodegradable products

Reduction of health hazard by using non-toxic products.

Rapid increase in the scarcity of fossil fuel has caused an eventual drive to find alternative and renewable sources of fuel from common vegetable oils like soybean, corn, etc. Recently oil from the seeds of the Jatropha fruit has been converted to JC biodiesel, which can be directly used in diesel engines. Jatropha Curcas has now arisen as a very good source of plant based biodiesel source, with more than 32 percentage of oil content in its divot seed with white cotyledons inside the dark brown coloured testa.

Curcas is one among the 175 members of the Jatropha genus. The plant, seeds and oil of this biodiesel crop are non-edible and it is considered to be poisonous to some degree, which keeps of the cattle from it. In olden days, it is mostly used as live fencing crop due to the toxic nature of this plant.

The oil which is obtained by crushing the Seeds of Jatropha Curcas, with the help of an expeller is then subjected to a process called as trans-etherification in which the triglycerides are converted into methyl esters to get the biodiesel and the by-products separately.


Jatropha curcas L.

Taxonomy and nomenclature

Family: Euphorbiaceae

Synonyms: Curcas purgans Medic.

Vernacular/common names: physic nut, purging nut (English); pourghère, pignon d’Inde (French); Pur­gier-nuß, Brechnuß (German); piñoncillo (Mexico); coquillo, tempate (Costa Rica); tártago (Puerto Rico); mundubi-assu (Brazil); piñol (Peru); pinón (Guatema­la); kanananaeranda, parvata-randa (Sanskrit); bagbhe-renda, jangliarandi, safed arand (Hindi); kadam (Nepal); sabudam (Thailand); túbang-bákod (the Philippines); jarak budeg (Indonesia); bagani (Côte d’Ivoire); kpoti (Togo); tabanani (Senegal); mupuluka (Angola); butuje (Nigeria); makaen (Tanzania); purgeerboontjie (South Africa); dand barrî, habel meluk (Arab); yu-lu-tzu (Chi­nese); purge-ernoot (Dutch); fagiola d’India (Italian); purgueira (Portuguese);

Distribution and habitat

It is still uncertain where the centre of origin is, but it is believed to be Mexico and Central America. It has been introduced to Africa and Asia and is now culti­vated world-wide. This highly drought-resistant spe­cies is adapted to arid and semi-arid conditions. The current distribution shows that introduction has been most successful in the drier regions of the tropics with annual rainfall of 300-1000 mm. It occurs mainly at lower altitudes (0-500 m) in areas with average an­nual temperatures well above 20°C but can grow at higher altitudes and tolerates slight frost. It grows on well-drained soils with good aeration and is well adapted to marginal soils with low nutrient content.


The species is widely grown in the tropics as living fences because it is easily propagated by cuttings and not browsed by cattle. The seeds contain 30-35% oil which is used as an insecticide, for soap production and numerous other purposes. The seed oil can also be used as a substitute for diesel oil in engines and in recent years special interest has been shown in the cultivation of physic nut in energy plantations. Press cake made from the plant is valuable as organic manure. It has a nitrogen content similar to chicken manure (3.2-3.8%). The seeds are not edible mainly due to a high content of toxic proteins but all parts of the plant are used in traditional medicine. However, some provenances have been reported to produce edi­­ble seed and in Mexico the seeds from a non-toxic variety are eaten after roasting. Being drought tolerant, it can be used to reclaim eroded areas. Unfortunately it is host for the cassava virus that can be transmitted to the crops and it should never be used for fences around cassava fields.

With the combination of oil production and erosion control and the ability to grow in marginal areas with poor soil and low rainfall, this species has great potential in rural development as a source of household income and at the same time creating environmental benefits. Examples from Mali show that villages that plant 15 km of Jatropha hedges can harvest about 12 tons of seed which may generate 1800 US$ of cash income when the oil is extracted and the products sold

Botanical description

Small tree or large shrub, up to 8 m tall and with diam­eter up to 20 cm. Trunk is straight, branching low above the ground; bark is thin and yellowish. Leaves are 6 x 15 cm and lobed. Flowers small and greenish, unisexual with male and female flowers at the same tree.

Fruit and seed description

Fruit: a grey-brown capsule, up to 4 cm long; it is nor­mally divided into 3 cells, each containing one seed.Seed: seeds are black, about two cm long and one cm thick. There are (100) 2000-2400 seeds per kg

Flowering and fruiting habit

The trees are deciduous, shedding the leaves in the dry season. Flowering occurs during the wet season and two flowering peaks are often seen. In permanently hu­mid regions, flowering occurs throughout the year. The seeds mature about three months after flowering. Early growth is fast and with good rainfall conditions nursery plants may bear fruits after the first rainy season, direct sown plants after the second rainy season. The flowers are pollinated by insects especially honey bees.

Jatropha seedlings
Jatropha seedlings

Physic Nut


When the fruits begin to open, the seeds inside are mature. Collection is best done by picking fruits from the tree or hitting and shaking the branches until the fruits break off. Seeds collected from live fences can normally be reached by hand. For taller trees, it is possible to collect the fruits in a small bag that is attached to a stick. In Costa Rica it is estimated that a tree produces about 30 kg fruits per year or about 12 kg seed. The yield per hectare is about 4800 kg seed.

 Equipment:Jatropha Seeds Oil Press

 Nowadays there is fabricated machinery for big scale harvesting of Jatropha nuts.


Processing and handlingAfter collection, the fruits are transported in open bags to the processing site. Here they are dried until all the fruits have opened. It has been reported that direct sun has a negative effect on seed viability and that seeds should be dried in the shade. When the seeds are dry they are separated from the fruits and cleaned.

Storage and viability

The seeds are orthodox and should be dried to low moisture content (5-7%) and stored in airtight con­tainers. At room temperature, the seeds can retain high viability for at least one year. However, because of the high oil content the seeds cannot be expected to store for as long as most orthodox species.


Dormancy and pretreatment

Freshly harvested seeds show dormancy and after-ripening is necessary before the seeds can germinate. Dry seed will normally germinate readily without pre­treatment. If this is the case, it is not recommended to remove the seedcoat before sowing. Although it speeds up germination there is a risk of getting abnormal seed­lings.

Sowing and germination

Germination is fast, under good conditions it is com­plete in 10 days. Germination is epigean (cotyledons emerge above ground). Soon after the first leaves have formed, the cotyledons wither and fall off. In the nursery, seeds can be sown in germination beds or in containers. Although the seedlings grow very fast they should stay in the nursery for 3 months until they are 30-40 cm tall. By then the plants have developed their repellant smell and will not be browsed by animals.

Physic nut can be established from nursery seedlings, bare root or containerised, by direct sowing, trans-planting of wildings or planting of cuttings. The choice of propagation method depends on use. Plants propagated by seeds are generally preferred for the establishment of long-lived plantations for oil production. Direct sowing should only be used in areas with high rainfall and the seeds must be sown after the beginning of the rainy season when sufficient rainfall is certain. For quick establishment of hedges and plantations for erosion control, directly planted cuttings are best suited. Cuttings of 30 cm length have been found to have the highest survival rate. Plants propagated by cuttings will normally produce seed within one year of planting and growth is rapid.


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