Croton megalocarpus.

croton1Croton megalocarpus. Is a tropical/subtropical tree that grows to 15-35 m; it has distinctive layering of branches and a rather flat crown. Bark dark grey, rough, and crackling. Hardy and fast growing. Leaves variable, long, oval and pointed to about 12 cm.The nut itself has multiple uses but most well-known is the oil, used to make biofuel or biodiesel. Croton seeds contain approximately 30% oil and a high protein content of 30%. Byproducts from the oil include croton seedcake that can be used in animal feeds due its high protein content. The husks of the nut are processed into fertilizer or as a biomass.


Croton  grows robustly in semi-arid climates on marginal lands (where did I hear that before?), produces 25-50 kg seeds annually with 32% oil content


Biofuel uses

It has recently been shown in Kenya that Croton nuts,are a more economical source of biofuel than Jatropha. In Kenya, Jatropha requires as much as 20,000 litres of water to make a litre of biofuel, while Croton trees grow wild and yield about  0.35 litres of oil per kilo of nuts. Croton trees are planted as a windbreak in Kenya and its use as a source of biofuel may benefit rural economies there. As arable land is under population pressure, people have been cutting down the windbreaks to expand farmland. This new use may save the windbreaks which should help fight desertification.


The statement above is a typical quote from somebody who knows nothing about agronomy and utterly nonsense. Jatropha yields about 0.25 ltr of oil per kg of nuts. Croton yields about 0.35 kg of oil per kg of nuts. So far so good. Jatropha is a shrub that sheds its leaves in dry season and starts to produce fruits after 1 year. Croton is almost evergreen and starts to produce fruits after 3 years. The fact that croton is a tree and evergreen implicates that it uses much more water than the Jatropha. A Jatropha that sheds its leaves hardly evaporates water. The only reason that Croton can become more profitable than Jatropha is the fact that it becomes a big tree so it absorbs more CO2, which is an asset. But it has nothing to do with water consumption.

also see Croton megalocarpus, the poultry-feed tree


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