Development of sustainable production and utilization technologies of Jatropha curcas biofuel for reducing rural poverty in West Africa

Project identifier 25-NO-ACRONYM
Project Status finished
Start date 2012-01-01
End date 2015-01-01
Roadmap Theme
  • Expansion and improvement of agricultural markets and trade: Bio-economic strategies
  • Sustainable intensification: Ecological intensification approaches
  • Type of Project Applied research project
    Type of Project Development and innovation oriented (research) project
    Keyword biofuels; Jatropha curcas; agricultural intensification; utilization technologies
    Location Senegal; Burkina Faso; Benin
    Budget 876 732
    Main Funder African Union Commission (AURG 1)
    Coordinator Université de Thiès
  • Institut Sénégalais de Recherches Agricoles (ISRA)
  • Gaston Berger University (UGB)
  • Institut de l'Environnement et de Recherches Agricoles du Burkina Faso (INERA)
  • University of Ouagadougou
  • Institut National des Recherches Agricoles du Bénin (INRAB)
  • Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar (UCAD)
  • Research Institute for Development (IRD)
  • Documents AURG projects phase 1 booklet



    In West Africa,chronic energy deficiency and poverty especially in rural areas have brought about many countries to introduce biofuel crops as new agricultural chain to diversify farmers income and stimulate the rural economy.

    In Senegal, as in Burkina Faso and Benin, the political option for biofuels is based primarily on the promotion of Jatropha curcas. The choice of this species is justified by the fact that, it produces seeds rich in oil easily convertible into biodiesel meeting international standards. The oil can be combusted as fuel without being refined. It is found to be growing in many parts of west African countries. Many J. curcas plantation experiences were capitalized.

    However, the sustainability of J. curcas cultivation programs could be compromized by the lack of scientific knowledge on this plant. The technology gap for oil processing and equipment for biofuel use is a major handicap.

    In this context, the specific objective of the project is to develop sustainable production and use technologies of J. curcas biofuel.

    Approach of the Project

    • The implementation strategy is based on a multidisciplinary, participatory and multi-actor approach.

    • It combines research methods in social sciences, experimental sciences and modeling.

    • Research activities are conducted at different scales: laboratory, research station and on-farm.

    • Pilot sites were selected in countries to concentrate on-farm research activities and thus, promote synergy and sharing data particularly for the development of models.

    • An internal participatory monitoring / evaluation system was adopted to analyze the progress of the project and find solutions to difficulties.

    Major Results Achieved

    • Significant outputs that can be used in breeding programs for improvement of J. curcas have been obtained:

    • A collection of more than 200 local accessions from that a dozen have more than 55% seed oil content.

    • 100 seed-weight that present a high heritability and significantly correlated to oil content is identified as reliable criterion for screening at the early stage of accessions with high oil content.

    • Genetic basis of J. curcas is very narrow in Senegal and need to be widened through new introductions to sustain improvement programs.

    • The main pests of J. curcas in the growing areas have been identified and described.

    • Allometric equations to estimate above-ground biomass and belowground biomass have been established and tested in order to allow reliable and quick estimation of J. curcas plantations carbon stocks.

    • An input of 5 T/ha of J. curcas oil cakes in the field significantly improve soil properties and allow to increase yields of maize 5 times higher to the control.

    • Designing and confection of a motorized mechanical oil expeller press and a manual press that can easily be used for oil extraction in rural areas.

    • Successful adaptation of a single cylinder diesel engine with direct injection of 10.5 kW for use of J. curcas oil.

    • Realization of a bicarburation kit.

    • Preheating dispositive is made to reduce significantly oil viscosity.

    • 10 scientific papers have been published in international refereed journals.

    Expected Impact

    • Improving access to energy in rural areas to sustain agricultural intensification and rural entrepreneurship.

    • Mitigation of climate change through carbon sequestration.

    • Strengthening the access of farmers organizations in carbon markets by valorizing J. Curcas plantations carbon stocks.

    • Promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women who are main beneficiaries of multifunctional platforms.

    • Strengthening the West African research capacity by training young researchers and improving the level of laboratory equipment.

    • MSc in IFS.