In this big mixed up world of us, the ever-growing need for energy has forced a constant demand for fuels. Obviously, just about anyone reading this is going to be readily aware that we as a race heavily rely on fossil fuels at the moment to power a great variety of engines around the world. There are other choices though. The best of sources of energy are derived from solar and other types that have little impact except extra heat for the world. But, if one must use a combustible fuel, then biodiesel is a decent alternative for the time being.
The government of Mozambique gets this and in order to try and not be so dependent on oil, they’ve drafted up a strategy to include growing large amounts of Jatropha, as was reported on Reuters. While this may seem problematic and counter-productive to growing food, this scraggly plant has some advantages:
Jatropha is a non-food crop whose oil can be used to produce biodiesel. It can be grown on semi-arid land and so poses less of a threat to food production than other biofuel feedstocks such as grains and vegetable oils, supporters argue.
Of course, who is to say that if production takes off and the money rolls in that those wishing to cash in won’t start growing the plant instead of food crops. Long term is always the hardest term in all of this.
As one can read on Wikipedia, the plant is comprised of about 40% oil and has been tested to run everything from Mercedes to Boeing 747 jets (albeit in a 50/50 mix with jet fuel). So, the fuel potential is definitely there, but the jury is out as to whether or not this will all work out in the end. I happen to live along a bus route that used to run diesel buses which are now all biodiesel. I gotta tell you. It may cut down on hydrocarbons, but the exhaust air is just as foul from one of these new biodiesel buses. I’m still holding out for cold fusion flying cars to be honest.
Whatever the case, I have to applaud Mozambique for attempting policies that are in line with energy self-sufficiency despite an even bigger chunk of money going to build an oil refinery in the country. There are other countries [um]USA[/um] that could learn something from this.
UPDATE: Naturally, this is not all good now that I have more information on it. Leave it to Mother Jones to write a very recent article that I was tipped off to by @gianpandinha.