Kamis, 11 Maret 2010

Castor Oil (Jatropha curcas) as A Renewable Energy Resource

A resource is any physical or virtual entity of limited availability, or anything used to help one earn a living. In most cases, commercial or even ethic factors require resource allocation through resource management. As resources are very useful, we attach some information value to them. Resources help to produce goods so they have economic value.
Natural resources (economically referred to as land or raw materials) occur naturally within environments that exist relatively undisturbed by mankind, in a natural form. A natural resource is often characterized by amounts of biodiversity existent in various ecosystems. Natural resources like forests, mountains etc. are considered beautiful so they have aesthetic value. Gifts of nature such as water also have a legal value because it is our right to consume them. On the other hand, resources have an ethical value as well because it is our moral duty to protect and conserve them for the future generations.
Most scientists agree that Natural resources may be further classified in different ways. On the basis of renewability, one of natural resources categorization is renewable resources. Renewable resources are those that can be replenished or reproduced easily. Some of them, like sunlight, air, wind, etc., are continuously available and their quantity is not affected by human consumption. Many renewable resources can be depleted by human use, but may also be replenished, thus maintaining a flow. Some of these, like agricultural crops, take a short time for renewal; others, like water, take a comparatively longer time, while still others, like forests, take even longer.

Energy crisis that occurred in our country, Indonesia, has lasted a decade. Reserves are depleted, higher commodity prices, and consumer culture has been blamed for the energy crisis even make people panic. This condition makes us forget that in addition to fossil oil, there are other fuels as an energy source. Let's see how very plentiful energy source in Indonesia. West Java, especially in alternative energy sources already developed such as biogas derived from cattle dung, kerosene from seed distance, solar power, micro hydro, wind power, and so forth.
The our central government also has issued Presidential Regulation No. 5 of 2006 on National Energy Policy that aims to realize the security of domestic energy supply. With regard to this, the government since 2006 has launched the Program of Action Provision and Utilization of Alternative Energy as one of the priority programs. The program is implemented as an attempt to answer the challenge of reducing dependence on oil fuel (BBM) by increasing the contribution the use of gas, coal, biofuels (biofuels), as well as renewable energy such as biogas, biomass, geothermal, solar energy and wind energy .
The definition of alternative energy is energy not generated from fossil fuels. Various kinds of alternative energy is energy produced from renewable sources. As a substitute for petroleum, alternative energy is developed and utilized relevant in West Java is the castor oil and biogas.
One of renewable energy is castor oil obtained from obtained from the distance of the fence (Jatropha curcas) which is a bush plant family Euphorbiaceae. In five months, drought-resistant plants are starting to bear, full productive at the age of five years, and the productive age reaches 50 years. The pulp can be used for green manure and gas production, while the seeds for animal feed (from non-toxic varieties), and that the test has proven to substitute fuel oil diesel (diesel) and kerosene. Becomes important is the raw material of the fruit range, which is currently production is still limited.
Studies of castor oil as an alternative source of solar energy has been done ITB. Castor oil can replace diesel oil to drive electric generators. Because the distance trees can be planted in almost all parts of Indonesia, castor oil helps generate electrical energy to remote and this oil can be produced by the community that require electricity.
In generating electricity is not required generator (genset) just because the castor oil can be used in the existing generators. From the environmental side, this oil is also low levels of emissions of sulfur (SOX), nitrogen (NOx), and carbon, but it can be used for crop planting and reforestation. Therefore, the planting of one million hectares of Jatropha on marginal lands will produce 4.3 billion liters of oil per year, and distances that would save foreign exchange of more than Rp 12 trillion, more than halt diesel imports valued at USD 2800.00 per liter (Manurung 2009).
Other benefits, castor oil can improve the welfare of the people, especially in areas with marginal resource. If we are aware of it, obviously we get many benefits from Jatropha curcus. Whatever its utilization, this castor oil is proper to be used as one of a renewable energy resource, isn’t it? So it’s important to remember that use renewable energy can investing our future.
_Berbagi Bersama untuk Semua_

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