USING THE FRUIT SHELLS AND SEED HUSKS

Biogas has been produced from fruit shells. In addition, trials showed that seed husks can be used as a feedstock for a gasification plant (Staubmann et al., cited Achten et al., 2008). Jatropha fruit shells and seed husks can be used for direct combustion. Since the shells make up around 35–40 percent of the whole fruit by weight and have a calorific value approaching that of fuel wood, they could be a useful by-product of jatropha oil production. As shown in Table 8, the calorific values of Prosopis juliflora (a fuel wood species of semi-arid areas) and jatropha fruit shells are similar. However, four times the volume of fruit shells is required to equal the heating value of fuel wood, due to their lower bulk density.

Seed husks have a higher heating value and greater bulk density which makes them more valuable than the fruit shells as a combustible fuel. However, the technology required to separate the seed husk from the kernel is more suited to large processing plants than small rural industry.

The fruit shells can be dried and ground to a powder and formed into fuel briquettes. A trial found that 1 kg of briquettes took around 35 minutes for complete combustion, giving temperatures in the range of 525ºC–780ºC (Singh et al., 2008).

The ash left after combustion of jatropha shell briquettes is high in potassium, which may be applied to crops or kitchen gardens. The fruit shells and seed husks also can be left around jatropha trees as mulch and for crop nutrition. For jatropha grown on degraded land, this has clear advantages because nutrient re-cycling – through returning the seed cake to the plantation – is unlikely to happen, due to the effort required and the higher utility to be gained from applying the seed cake to high-value crops.

Fruits are produced in winter when the shrub is leafless, or it may produce several crops during the year if soil moisture is good and temperatures are sufficiently high. Each inflorescence yields a bunch of approximately 10 or more ovoid fruits. A three, bi-valved cocci are formed after the seeds mature and the fleshy exocarp dries. Fruits are produced in winter when the shrub is leafless, or it may produce several crops during the year if soil moisture is good and temperatures are sufficiently high. Each inflorescence yields a bunch of approximately 10 or more ovoid fruits. Three, bi-valved cocci are formed after the seeds mature and the fleshy exocarp dries.

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