02 August 2008

Jatropha in Mali ~ Three P's: People-Planet-Profits

MIT Energy Club founder Dave Danielson and I were hanging at the Muddy Charles Pub last night and in walked Full Belly Project founder Jock Brandis and colleagues from the International Development Design Summit (IDDS). We got to chatting about Jock's Universal Nut Sheller and specifically its use with Jatropha nuts in Mali. Turns out Jock helped a Dutch biofuel startup, Mali Biocarburant, deploy shellers to allow pre-processing in the village in anticipation of the drive-by mobile oil press, as you can see in this video featuring company president Hugo Verkuijl... The Sheller allows village coops to locally process the nuts cleanly into seeds -- i.e. without the dirt picked up by the traditional approach of whacking them on the ground -- with the added bonus that the presscake -- i.e. what's left after squeezing the oil out -- is good fertilizer which local farmers happily use. And there's icing on the cake: they make additional coin through carbon credits! This is a stellar example of orchestrated development, with tools, cooperatives, financing, supply chain all weaving together. Verkuijl's motto for the business? The Three P's: People + Planet + Profits all powered by biodiesel!

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