Wed, 07 Jun 2006

The forgotten present from God

Robert Manurung, who researches castor oil at the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), said castor oil is the most appropriate crop to use to produce biodiesel blended fuels.

Castor oil requires a smaller investment than palm oil. "To develop small and medium-scale businesses, castor oil is the best choice," he said.

"Because it has several strains, the plant can grow well everywhere in Indonesia," he added.

According to Manurung, castor oil has two genera: jatropha curcass and ricinus.

Jatropha curcass can be planted in all low-land areas, he said, whether they are fertile or not. It can even grow in dry lands like those in eastern Indonesia.

There are two strains of ricinus. The first strain can grow well in low-land areas while the second strain thrives in mountains. But the second one is best used to produce lubricant oil.

"Lubricant oil derived from the ricinus is the best quality in the world," he said, adding that the plant can be also used in other products, such as medicines and natural pesticides.

"Actually, the plant is a forgotten present from God. It is very beneficial," he said. Benget Simbolon Tnb.