Five things I didn’t know about Pongamia before today

I only heard about the possibilities of using a bush called Pongamia as biofuel crop today when I came across the International Water Management Institute’s (IWMI) report on water use and biofuels. The IWMI says it might be a suitable biofuel crop… It certainly looks rather nice.

picture from Binux on flickr

1. It is a hardy blighter and grows well in wet, dry and saline soils. It fixes nitrogen and its seeds are 30-40% oil, and it’s widely grown in India .
2. It is a flowering shrub, like wisteria.
3. It travels under a number of names and is also called Indian Beech, Pongam, Honge, Ponge, and Karanj.
4. The British Standards Institute studied it in India in the 1930s and it was proposed as a diesel alternative.
5. People have trans-esterified it’s oil into biodiesel with properties close to ASTM diesel standards.

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2 Responses to Five things I didn’t know about Pongamia before today

  1. Luke Hallam 20 October, 2007 at 9:56 pm #

    Thanks for gathering this together. Pongamia is one of the few potential biofuels crops/plantations that doesn’t compete with food crops and isn’t classified as a weed as an invasive weed in Australia.

    If you are interested please read:

    Many biofuels plants are weeds

    The Weedy Truth about Biofuels report (linked from the above) is worth a read.



  2. Keith D Lawrence 17 March, 2009 at 4:38 am #

    I have been looking for something like this.
    Where can I get seeds in Australia.
    Preferably Queensland.

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