Jatropha mahafalensis oil from Madagascar: properties and suitability as liquid biofuel

Sonnleitner, Andrea; Rathbauer, Josef; Ramarolanonana Randriamalalac, Josoa; Benjamin Raoliarivelo, Léa Irène; Andrianarisoa, Julien Honoré; Rabeniala, Radobarimanjaka; Ehrensperger, Albrecht (2013). Jatropha mahafalensis oil from Madagascar: properties and suitability as liquid biofuel. Energy for sustainable development, 17(4), pp. 326-330. International Energy Initiative 10.1016/j.esd.2013.04.001

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Access to affordable and renewable sources of energy is crucial to reducing poverty and enhancing rural development in countries of the global South. Straight vegetable oil was recently identified as a possible alternative to conventional biomass for rural energy supply. In this context, the Jatropha curcas Linn. species has been extensively investigated with regard to its potential as a biofuel feedstock. In contrast, only little is known about Jatropha mahafalensis Jum. & H. Perrier, which is an indigenous and endemic representative of the Jatropha genus in Madagascar. This paper explores the potential and suitability of J. mahafalensis as a biofuel feedstock. Seed samples were collected in the area of Soalara in south-western Madagascar in February and September 2011. Two agro-ecological zones (coastal area and calcareous plateau) and two plant age groups (below and above 10 years) were considered. These four sample groups were analyzed with regard to oil properties, element contents, and fatty acid profiles. Measured values differed greatly between the two harvests, probably owing to different climatic or storage conditions. No direct relation between age of trees or location and oil quality could be established. The analyses indicate that J. mahafalensis oil can be used in oil lamps, cooking stoves and stationary combustion engines for electrification or for biodiesel production. However, modifications in storage and extraction methods, as well as further processing steps are necessary to enable its utilization as a straight vegetable oil and feedstock for biodiesel production. If these technical requirements can be met, and if it turns out that J. mahafalensis oil is economically competitive in comparison with firewood, charcoal, paraffin and petroleum, it can be considered as a promising feedstock for rural energy supply.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > NCCR North-South Management Centre (discontinued)
10 Strategic Research Centers > Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

UniBE Contributor:

Ehrensperger, Albrecht


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 330 Economics




International Energy Initiative




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Date Deposited:

11 Aug 2014 16:29

Last Modified:

07 Oct 2015 10:15

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Jatropha mahafalensis, Madagascar, Rural energy supply, Straight vegetable oil, Liquid biofuel





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