Money may not grow on trees but they could help power cars, thanks
to a path-breaking effort to develop biofuel from forests.
By 2010, China plans to plant an area the size of England, or 13
million hectares, with trees from which biofuel can be extracted as
a source of clean energy, according to the State Forestry
Jatropha, also called physic nut, is currently grown on around 2
million hectares across the country and produces non-edible oil for
making candles and soap.
Now, it will be the main ingredient in the production of
The 13-million-hectare forest mostly spread over southern China
is expected to produce nearly 6 million tons of biodiesel every
Vehicles account for a third of all oil use in the country.
Biodiesel is a clean-burning diesel made from natural, renewable
sources such as agricultural products like palm oil, soybeans and
sugarcane with Brazil, in particular, being a global leader.
The jatropha trees can also provide wood fuel for a power plant
with an installed capacity of 12 million kilowatts about two-thirds
the capacity of the Three Gorges Dam project, the world's
Base in Yanbian County of southwest China'a Sichuan
This amount of bio-energy will account for 30 percent of the
country's renewable energy by 2010, according to the SFA.
Cao Qingyao, spokesman for the SFA, said: "This plan will not
only help the country enlarge its green coverage (currently at
about 130 million hectares) but also meet increasing demand for
"And most importantly, it provides clean energy to meet the
country's target of sustainable development," he said.
Currently, the country relies mainly on fossil fuels for energy
production. To ease the pressure and reduce pollution and
greenhouse gas emissions, a renewable energy target has been set:
By 2010, it will make up 10 percent of the energy structure; and 16
percent by 2020.
China National Petroleum Corporation, one of the country's three
energy giants, has started collaboration with the SFA to develop
Jiang Jiemin, head of the corporation, said last month that the
group would, by 2010, build a commercial production base with an
annual capacity of 200,000 tons of biodiesel by planting more than
400,000 hectares of trees.
(China Daily February 8, 2007)