Jatropha curcas L. is chosen as an ideal biodiesel crop in China because its seed kernel has high oil content (43–61%) and it does not compete with food. Its oil is non-edible, and the trees can resist drought and grow on barren and marginal lands without using arable land. Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) of Chinese acedemy of Sciences (CAS) as a national institute has a long histroy in study and commercialization of Jatropha industry, and made great progress in Jatropha plantation, breeding and crude oil processing. Two new high-seed/oil yield varieties (Jatropha nigroviensrugosus CY Yang; Jatropha curcas cv. multiflorm CY Yang) were bred. Novel green processes to produce biodiese, such as a two-step method using ultrasonic radiation, one-step process using ionic liquids and nanocatalysts, were also developed.
Recently, Biomass Group in XTBG, CAS (http://brg.groups.xtbg.ac.cn/) published a review paper entitled “Review and prospects of Jatropha biodiesel industry in China, 16 (2012) 2178-2190” in renowned international energy Journal “Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews”.
In this paper, Profs. Cheng-Yuan Yang and Zhen FANG review the history of Jatropha, current development status and problems in its seeds, propagation, plantation management, oil extraction, biodiesel processing and other value-added products production techniques in China. The commercial production of seed, oil and biodiesel as well as research advancement in China is also introduced and discussed. Examples about XTBG new bred mutant and selected high-oil-yield Jatropha varieties, highqualified produced biodiesel, and biodiesel pilot plant are presented. Finally, future prospects of Jatropha biodiesel industry in China are discussed.