Maybe so. My Dream Fuel LLC in LaBelle Florida is well on its way to getting its share. My Dream Fuel is running a nursery in Hendry County Florida that has about 1 million Jatropha seedlings that will deliver this spring. At about 600 Jatropha trees per acre yielding 10 times the fuel per acre as corn, this is noteworthy. Corn at 150 bushels an acre will yield 375 gallons of ethanol making Jatropha close to 3750 gallons per acre or almost 90 barrels. At that rate, we’d need 1.6 billion acres of Jatropha to cover the gasoline requirements of the U.S. each year.

Jatropha curcas Seeds

Beyond that, the company is opening a Jatropha seed crush facility to recover the oil in Fort Meyers. Just to be clear, Jatropha oil is a quick conversion to biodiesel and isn’t really a direct measure for displacing gasoline. With yield numbers that high, it becomes clear that biofuels can make a major impact. Jatropha isn’t well suited for the big corn region of the American Middle West anyway. Nevertheless, there is a huge swath of the U.S. and much of the world where Jatropha will have an increasing role. Already China has 1 million acres of Jatropha growing and India has several plantations with millions of trees started.

Paul Dalton of My Dream Fuel, who runs My Dream Fuel, expects to clone another million trees before June of this year. The company’s base stock is from Mysore India and from its own selection out of its testing program. When the new facility in Fort Meyers is running the production of new seedlings will approach 1 million trees per month.

This is My Dream Fuel’s first year with a full nursery. Last year, still cloning to potted trees they got to 12,000 and sold them all in four days. There is little wonder that Mr. Dalton has had visitors from as far away as Spain looking for seedlings and has a contract with the government of India to teach 1,500 farmers to cultivate the species.

While all of this is gleaned from local and U.S. press reports, the basics look to be in the zone of researcher’s expectations. But assuming that is the case, the 90 barrel per acre yield is about in line with what a grower could expect to get. If a barrel of Jatropha oil is worth half of a barrel of crude oil or $55, an acre would be worth a gross of $4,950. That’s a bit more than a corn farmer gets even if that 150 bushels turns out $6 each or only $900 per acre. Or being its Jatropha oil, not crude and quite near to being diesel those 3750 gallons might sell for $2.25 a gallon today or $8437.50 per acre. This is the sort of thing that makes farmers intensely interested.

Jatropha Seed Pods

Jatropha is a wonderful plant with enormous potential. There isn’t even decades of university research into increasing yields factored in. So what is out there for areas that won’t see Jatropha flourishing?

Biomass Crops That Grow Where In U.S.

This map shows what the Oak Ridge National Laboratory is thinking what will grow where across the U.S. Note there is no mention of Jatropha anywhere in the U.S. This might lead a thinking person to wonder that maybe we’re not completely seeing all the potential crops that could be used to recycle CO2 and fuel human activities. That is likely a good assumption, but the potentials listed on the map are substantial, if not stunning in their implications.

We try to not get expressly speculative on this site. Having some attention seizures with napkin numbers and rough figures are useful to keep us focused. In truth, the facts are not in for hard decisions for most of the agricultural landmass. Jatropha is the oil form leader now and may stay that way for a time for fuel products in the middle distillate range. The main competitor would be algae, another oil producer, that is also a missing item on the Oak Ridge map. Between them the future supplies for diesel on to jet and home heating oil look really good over the next ten to fifteen years.

But to answer the lighter fuel demands like gasoline and propane the cellulosic base has to improve dramatically. To date, the cellulosic answer in biological processes isn’t ready, yet. But gasification and pyrolysis may be much closer than we were thinking just last fall.

So here is the question for everyone else, “What crop yields the highest amount of carbon base stock in dry matter tons per acre.” When you know that for your area, and the most cost effective process to get to ethanol, butanol or synthetics from propane up to gasoline that’s economically viable, you have the start of a plan.

I’m thinking that the OPECs, Axis of Oil types and distracted big oil leaders are going to be losing a lot of market share much sooner than anyone thought.


11 Comments so far

  1. Al Fin on April 10, 2008 8:04 AM

    It looks as if My Dream Fuel did the research and is looking at the problem realistically. Jatropha doesn’t tolerate frost well, which for the US limits it to the lowland deep south and the coastal southwest. Belgium is building a big jatropha processing plant and plans to import the beans for crushing and processing.

    Expect more jatropha plantations to pop up in Latin America and the Caribbean.

  2. Leanne on April 13, 2008 2:55 PM

    Yes bio-fuel provides us humans with more oil, but it seems that we are missing the point. How this will reduce pollution and co2 emissions? Maybe we could focus our amazing intelligence on taking care of the planet and tackle the challenges that that would bring, such as, how do we live with less oil? how do we clean up the air we breath and the water we drink? how do we face the challenges of an ever growing population that a planet can no longer sustain? how do we learn to communicate with people who we disagree with or don’t like without violence or disrespect?

  3. There is a Biofuel Crop that Will Grow Near You | New Energy and Fuel on April 14, 2008 6:07 AM

    […] Last week we looked at jatropha and saw a map that shows “what biomass crops grow where” and not… The email has seen some questions about not just missing crops, but wondering where the crops that might become fuels could be located. […]

  4. OCTAVIO TORRES on April 24, 2008 9:49 PM

    We are promoting Jatropha crops in Colombia and we have a pilot crop evaluating several varieties/accesions. We are interested in get or receive from you Jatropha seeds(different varieties) THANKS

  5. Lane Goodman on April 26, 2008 11:11 AM

    Looks very promising for South Florida. I would be interested in working with a firm in this region. I have a BS degree in Agriculture from the University of Florida. In addition, I have contacts in the citrus industry that may be interested in planting on productive land that has been wiped out by citrus canker or citrus greening.

  6. Lane Goodman on April 26, 2008 11:12 AM

    I can be reached at

  7. carole liguori on July 6, 2008 8:42 PM

    i am interested in growing jatropha plants .who do i get in contact with on grwoing the plants. and where do i buy the seeds

  8. Grant Hammond on July 7, 2008 2:25 PM

    To any of the growers who are interested in growing this Jatropha plant for fuel, or for any other crops,Ornimentals, trees, & shrubs for that matter, High Yield industries may be of some help to you. You can expect at least a 30% increase in crop yields with little or no fertilizers with their totally ‘green product’. If your interested go to and see what the newest technology will do for growing crops.. Thank You, and God Bless the farmers that provide food for our tables.

  9. Jim SHellenback on July 16, 2008 4:47 PM

    I have a biobased product made from food. I can raise the sugar levels in your plants and help them create more oils naturally with no pesticides. We are testing on Okra at the Brevard County Sheriffs Ranch. We got Okra from 3 inch seedling to 24″ and flowering in 17 days. I can help you with your yields tremendously.


  10. Blog on November 10, 2010 8:37 AM

    Daily News—11/10/10…

      San Francisco: Advanced Biofuels Markets announces major corporate events California, major announcements…

  11. Synergy Blog » Blog Archive » Daily News—11/10/10 on November 11, 2010 1:37 AM

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