Production of Jatropha oil - a diesel substitute for multi-task energy platforms & vehicules

The jatropha multi-task platform concept for integrated rural development - basic principles

In the jatropha platform concept, the jatropha oil is used as fuel for a small Lister-type diesel engine. This engine can then potentially be used to drive a press (for pressing the jatropha oil itself), a mill (for grinding flour) and a compressor (for inflating tyres, especially for donkey carts) or a generator (for welding or workshop tools, water pumping, or rural electrification). The jatropha grows on common land, as a living hedge between fields, or on marginal land not fertile enough for crops.

Seed is collected by women and taken to the installation for sale and pressing. 3-4kg of seed yields about 1 litre of oil. When the seed is pressed for its oil, a press cake is also produced, which is a mixture of organic material with some oil content. This can be composted for use as a high grade organic fertiliser. The oil is then sedimented, and the residue is used for production of soap with excellent dermatological properties. This allows women to start their own micro-enterprises, to alleviate poverty and generate income, benefiting the women, and of course their children and families. The grinding mill also reduces women's workload, replacing time consuming and tiring manual pounding.

All necessary components can be found on the local market, and for many elements, local competence will already exist in the village. Engines, mills and karite presses are all commonly found in rural areas, which means there is already capacity to maintain this equipment. Thanks to the SEAF project, the jatropha press can also be bought on the local Malian market.