THE JATROPHA BIOFUEL PROGRAM

The Challenge

Fuel for heating, cooking, and running engines is a huge need and buying it is a critical way that wealth leaves communities. Kerosene, gasoline, diesel, or firewood all have their costs either in money or time. All of these fuels pollute both the domestic and wider environments. Using kerosene in the home is equivalent to smoking 40 cigarettes a day. Collecting firewood contributes to deforestation, a significant problem throughout the developing world. Today, Haiti is 92% deforested, a situation that contributes to faster erosion, which makes it harder to farm effectively.

Our Solution: A Diesel Fuel Alternative from Plant Seeds

The jatropha is a warm-weather plant originally brought to Portuguese colonies by traders for use as lamp oil. The plant’s oil-rich seeds can be pressed to create oil that can be used in place of or in addition to diesel in engines and generators without further refinement. Because it is poisonous to most animals, it makes an excellent hedge crop on farms. And it thrives in frost-free climates, which is where much of the developing exists. The by-products of the oil extraction process can be used as either a nitrogen-rich fertilizer or as a charcoal substitute. And while they grow, the plants provide the added benefit of slowing down or eliminating erosion.

JATROPHA
10 CENTS

COST PER TREE
$100 = 1,000 TREES

ONE GALLON

FUEL OUTPUT PER TREE EACH YEAR

LIFESPAN

AVERAGE LIFESPAN OF EACH TREE

GALLONS

TOTAL FUEL PRODUCED BY
1,000 TREES

INCOME

FARMER’S TOTAL EARNINGS OVER
25 YEARS

THE MODEL

Sirona provides starter plants to local farmers for free. When the plants bear seeds, Sirona buys the seeds, insuring that the farmers have a market for their harvest. We process the seeds to create the biofuel and the charcoal alternative, and sell both products on the local market at market prices. The revenue then goes back into growing more starter plants.

aidstillrequired_logo_smSirona and Aid Still Required (ASR) have partnered to expand the Jatropha program and increase the impact of both organizations in Haiti. ASR has been working in Haiti since 2011. They shine the spotlight on forgotten issues and people who have been left behind after natural disasters and human crises. 

RESULTS

To date, Sirona has distributed 300,000 starter plants to 1,000 farmers in the program, and has established four nurseries in Haiti. As an example of the program, 10,000 plants from the Petite Guave nursery were raised and distributed for $1,000. Those will eventually bring $1,250,000 into this rural community over the 25 years that the trees live.