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Egypt cultivates jatropha as alternative energy

Cairo, Egypt - Egypt is currently looking into the expansion of the cultivation of the jatropha plant as a means of producing biofuels, PANA reported, quoting state-run MENA news agency.

The move came as Egypt expected population growth to continue and the country's limited energy sources may not be enough to support the massive increase.

The agency quoted an Agriculture Ministry official as saying jatropha would be planted in 200 feddans (84 hectares) in the Red Sea province of Hurghada.

The official was reported as saying the ministry was looking into the possibility of getting assistance on the project from Japan.

Jatropha is a non-food crop whose, oil can be used to produce biodiesel.

It can be grown on semi-arid land and so holds less of a threat to food producti on than other biofuel feed stocks, such as grains and vegetable oils, supporters of the move said.

Corn is also a prominent biofuel and with Egypt's production of the crop in the south, experts wondered why ethanol was not being sought.

"We have a massive corn produced down south and I wonder why the government is not looking into its cultivation," said one expert in alternative energy, adding " at least they are doing something."

Officials reported that Egypt's combined oil and gas reserves should enable the country to maintain its current energy production for another three decades but the drive for renewable resources appears to be happening.






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