24 Jul 2007

Hawaii tree holds promise for future of biofuel

7:18 am on 24 July 2007

Efforts are underway in Hawaii to grow a plant that has the potential to be turned into biofuel.

The University of Hawaii and the Hawaii Agriculture Research centre are growing test plots of jatropha, a plant that's already used to make biofuel in India.

The plants have three pointed leaves like the kukui nut tree and when the fruit ripens, it contains three seeds which are high in oil content.

Mike Poteet, a crop scientist with the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center, told the Honolulu Star that as well as reducing imported fuel costs, it has the potential to create a new agriculture industry.

Researchers emphasize that they are at least 3 years away from being able to determine the economic viability of fuel crops in Hawaii and the best way to grow them.