Hopes on the Jatropha plant have been around for almost as long as this century, for its potential as an eco-friendly biofuel. Only to be belied. It remains to be seen if this latest claim proves itself.
The Swiss company presents a significantly improved, natural breeding of the crop Jatropha curcas as the basis for profitable removal of CO2 from the atmosphere. It is the first supplier in the world to offer seed for an edible variant of the plant that produces high-quality protein.
Jatropha curcas is a wild plant found throughout the world whose fruits produce valuable vegetable oil and protein. Compared to conventional crops, there is a decisive advantage: The plant thrives on previously unproductive fallow land, of which there are millions of hectares worldwide. No cultivated land is needed, forests do not have to be cut down, and artificial irrigation and herbicides are not necessary. The plantations require little fertilizer and are not monocultures, which is beneficial to biodiversity.
Degraded soils become the object of sustainable value creation and at the same time the basis for effective measures against climate change. Fallow land becomes cultivated land with a demonstrated ability to remove several tons of carbon dioxide per ha/year from the atmosphere for long-term storage.
This removal of CO2 – known as “carbon capture and removal” – is certifiable through the use of unproductive soils. This makes plantations one of only 4% of global climate projects that actually remove CO2 from the atmosphere (source: IPCC).
The research program has significantly improved crop fruit yield, stress tolerance and drought resistance. The yield compared to the wild plant was increased fivefold. The enhanced edible variant of the plant has already received a validated pre-notification from the EU Food and Drug Administration.
The new solution offers decisive advantages: CO2 removal, certifiable sustainability and ease of scalability due to the presence of large land reserves. All this profitably, thanks to revenues generated from plantations as well as lower investment requirements. Restored, replanted fallow land has been proven to combat desertification, climate change, poverty and migration, and promote biodiversity.
The innovation offers companies, government organizations and NGOs the opportunity to implement tailored, cost-effective business solutions to combat climate change or directly finance projects to competitively offset their own CO2 emissions, while growing high-quality food on previously unused land. This enables a direct link between CO2 emitters seeking a solution and the states, corporations and landowners implementing that solution for them.
About Jatropower AG
The Swiss company, based in Baar (ZG), operates several demo plantations in India and Madagascar and is financed by private Swiss investors. The innovation was awarded the “Solar Impulse Efficient Solution” label by Prof. Bertrand Piccard’s Swiss Solar Impulse Foundation and included in the list of the best solutions for protecting the environment.