What is jatropha? It's a weed whose seed produces and oil that can be refined into biodiesel. It's like corn to ethanol south of the border. Companies and farmers south of the equator are buying up millions of acres to cultivate this weed, which can grows most anywhere. It is also used to make soap, candles and animal feed. With more than million acres worldwide earmarked for cultivation, a Christian Science Monitor article chronicles the perils of jatropha ventures. A hectare or 10,000 square meters produces about only 6.5 barrels of fuel, according to Wikipedia and some claim the economics don't work. But jatropha, which is popular in India, has plenty of boosters including the Center for Jatropha Promotion.
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
Clean diesel continues to be the fuel of choice for transportation authorities in major U S cities, in spite of competitive options aimed at reducing emissions, according to a nonprofit agency that represents diesel engine and equipment manufacturers.
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