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Crop-based fuel source perfect substitute for renewable energy

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- Bernama

SEPANG: Jatropha, an alternative crop-based fuel source, can be made a national crop to power the country’s energy requirements by 2010, says Deputy Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, Senator A Kohilan Pillay.

“With soaring prices of crude oil, Jatropha is a perfect substitute for renewable energy,” he told reporters after visiting Asiatic Development Bhd’s plantation here.

The visit is also in conjunction with the ministry’s interest in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives among plantation companies.

Kohilan said jatropha does not compete with food production unlike other fuel crop and as such was suitable as a source of renewable energy for daily needs such as electrical generation.

“With initiatives and research by companies such as Asiatic Development and the Malaysian Rubber Board, jatropha can be a source of renewable energy in the next two years,” Kohilan said.

Jatropha plantations have been extensively implemented in Terengganu and Sepang mainly by the Malaysian Rubber Board and Asiatic, he said.

However, to achieve large commercial-scale in Jatropha plantation there are some challenges, he said.

Shortage of land, sufficient labour and competition with the more popular palm oil plantations as well as finding a suitable clone seedling are some of the challenges for the full-scale commercialisation and development of Jatropha production, he said.

Jatropha, a plant containing toxic compounds and not recommended for consumption, originated from Central America. It is currently used for biodiesel fuel in Philippines, India and Africa.



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