Thursday, January 17, 2008

much ado about jatropha

The visit of Nobel prize (for chemistry) winner Dr. Hartmut Michel as well as his anti-jatropha declarations has caused quite a stir among Filipinos. And why not when even MalacaƱang ordered unused military facilities to be planted with jatropha for possible source of biodiesel.

A lot of Filipinos have pinned their hopes on jatropha. Even local scientists like Virgilio Sangutan, president of the Davao Inventors Association, said jatropha or tuba tuba is a good source of alternative fuel for the country. European and Korean investors have already cashed in on the lowly tuba tuba by providing capital to jatropha farmers. A lot of unused land in Davao City and nearby provinces have also been planted with jatropha.

Now comes Michel who claimed the energy that can be sourced from jatropha is not even one percent. Tell that to senator Miguel Zubiri who authored the biofuels act when he was still in Congress. Zubiri however said Michel is wrong.

Michel said the country should instead focus on the availability or wind energy and look at wind power.

Is the country wasting its resources planting jatropha when it is not even a good source of alternative energy? What's your take on this?

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