Jatropha oil: A promising, clean alternative energy

The Jakarta Post, 4 July 2006
by Yuli Tri Suwarni

Discovering an affordable and cleaner burning alternative energy source has long been the dream of industrial chemical engineer Robert Manurung.

Inspired by the difficulty of finding firewood in his hometown in North Sumatra, the 50-year-old native of North Tapanuli set out to find a cheaper energy source.

In the next six months, the Bandung Institute of Technology expert just might realize his dream. Oil produced by the castor-oil plant, known locally as pohon jarak (Jatropha curcas L), which Manurung has been studying for sometime, will on a trial basis replace diesel oil to generate electricity in East Nusa Tenggara.

His discovery, called Jatropha oil, was greeted with pessimism by several colleagues at the institute, some of whom said “it was nothing new”.