[Stoves] Jatropha and its future
lhelferty at sympatico.ca
Fri Aug 19 08:08:08 PDT 2011
Soapnuts are also known as 'Reetha' in Hindi. You may know this name
better. You may know them as something you might have used for hair
washing as well as washing woollens.
The /Sapindus Mukorossi/ tree is native to China and is related to
They may actually be considered an alien plant by some Indian
botanists [?], although they are grown extensively in northern India --
as well as southern China. They are also known as "Chinese Soap
Berries", although Wikipedia says that "/The generic name is derived
from the Latin words saponis, meaning "soap," and indicus, meaning "of
India."/..." or "soap of the Indies".
Soap Nuts are actually not nuts at all. They are berries (hence the name
They are also propagated in Indonesia and Japan (they may or may not
be able to sustain freezing temperatures, depending on their specific
It is likely that early trade routes and nomadic tribes carried them
by either man or animals from their origins in China to the other
connected lands within Asia to the border of the Himalayas from South
Eastern China to Nepal, and *North Western India*. It otherwise probably
would have took about thousand of years to migrate down though Nepal to
They are also being grown in North America in places line Florida
(this is the "Florida Soapberry" sub species:
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/st582), South Carolina, Texas, Arkansas [they
can be found scattered along limestone bluffs in the Ozarks], Oklahoma,
Louisiana, Missouri, Arizona, northern Mexico and the Caribbean (often
originally planted by Indian immigrants). There is a native North
American Species, the "Western Soapberry" (/Sapindus drummondii/), which
is a small deciduous tree about 30 feet tall belonging to the same
They are also grown in Hawaii -- the Hawaiians use the hard, black
seeds as part of their hula costumes... and for leis. (the Hawaiian
species of Soapberry native to Oahu and Kauai, /Sapindus oahuensis/ ~
called 'aulu', 'kaulu' or 'lonomea' on the island).
They may even grow them in some parts of Germany, Switzerland and France.
In Asia there are two main varieties of Soap Nuts: /*sapindus
trifoliatus*/ (The Small Soap Nut - ~ 1.4 grams, ~23-24% saponins, grows
~12 meters high) and /*sapindus mukorossi*/ (The Large Soap Nut - ~2.8
grams, ~11-11.5% saponins, grows ~20 meters high). The Sapindus trees
are extremely slow growing and take approximately 10 years before
fruiting and providing berries.
The Large Soap Nut is the most commonly used in cleaning (probably due
to its size & ease of harvesting), but both varieties are quite
effective. The weight of the seeds** are about 50% of the whole nut
**Note that soap berry, like a cherry (Lychee or Longan
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longan>), has a big, black, rock hard seed
in every fruit. The seeds should be removed when fresh off the tree
before being used since the seeds have no value for cleaning (only the
dried skin and pulp are used for that).
(The seed ends up being only added weight if sold 'seed-in', so most
people prefer to purchase soapnuts without the seed.)
If you look around (contact the soapnut producers), you may find that
there are small 'mountains' of Soapnut seeds that are sitting in piles
and have no use. (The seeds of sapindus mukorossi are usually round, but
sometimes pear-shaped: around 1/2 cm to 1 cm long / wide at the widest
I also suspect that the used, re-dried pulp might make for a good fuel.
When dried it is quite hard and I believe that it retains its shape
Lloyd Helferty, Engineering Technologist
Principal, Biochar Consulting (Canada)
603-48 Suncrest Blvd, Thornhill, ON, Canada
905-707-8754; 647-886-8754 (cell)
Steering Committee member, Canadian Biochar Initiative
President, Co-founder& CBI Liaison, Biochar-Ontario
Advisory Committee Member, IBI
Biochar Offsets Group: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?home=&gid=2446475
"Necessity may be the mother of invention, but innovators need to address problems before they become absolute necessities..."
On 2011-08-19 1:41 AM, Balkrishna n.Dave wrote:
> can be cultivate at Indian tropical atemosphere (Soapnut)?
> On 8/18/11, Lloyd Helferty<lhelferty at sympatico.ca> wrote:
>> Dear Crispin,
>> I will be certain to drop in to see you the next time I am passing
>> through, ~ which isn't actually that often.
>> The last time I was in the Waterloo area I was attending a meeting at
>> RTI, the fast pyrolysis company located there -- talking about Biochar,
>> of course.
>> I would like to do some emissions tests, but I don't have the Jatropha
>> (that was only in MA). It works with wood pellets too, of course (it
>> was designed for pellets). I'd like to try other fuels too (maybe
>> Switchgrass pellets?). ~ What I am really wanting to try are (used,
>> dried) "Soap Nut" berries (from the Sapindus Mukorossi
>> <http://www.sapindusmukorossi.com/> tree -- other species are also found
>> in different parts of the country), which are apparently ubiquitous in
>> Nepal - generally Soapnuts are mostly found on the Western Part of
>> Nepal. http://www.forestrynepal.org/resources/trees/sapindus-mukorossi
>> Soapnuts are known as 'Rithha' in Nepali, and they are used
>> traditionally as soap over there for washing wool garments.
>> They are actually among the list of herbs and minerals in Ayurveda. They
>> are a popular ingredient in Ayurvedic shampoos and cleansers and are
>> used in Ayurvedic medicine as a treatment for eczema, psoriasis, and for
>> "removing freckles". Soap nuts also have gentle insecticidal properties
>> and are traditionally used for removing lice.
>> If the planting of (both edible and non-edible) nut trees** could be
>> promoted not only for their agricultural (income-producing) value but
>> also for their energy (fuels) value [for stoves] ~ they might even
>> become more valuable standing than if they are cut down. This could
>> possibly then become a powerful incentive for promoting reforestation
>> and afforestation since people could end up making more money planting
>> and caring for the trees (and harvesting the fruits and nuts from them)
>> than by chopping them down to make whole-wood fuels (like "cooking
>> **Note: Nut trees are some of the best carbon sequestering trees.
>> Agroforestry systems with Fruit and Nut trees for food can produce a lot
>> of calories. Someone once told me that an acre of apple trees can
>> produce "20 million calories". A million calories can easily produce
>> enough calories (on ~1/10 of an acre) for 1 person for a year. (== 2740
>> calories/day, which is actually higher than the "2,000 calorie diet"
>> that is typically recommended by nutritionists.)
>> P.S. The biggest problem with the J-nuts was starting the fire at the
>> top. I had to spend some time crushing and opening up a handful of nuts
>> to place on top so that the oils would be released and it would light
>> easier. (I also 'cheated' and soaked the top layer of crushed J-nuts in
>> 97% IPA before throwing a match on. I don't know how easy [or clean] it
>> is to start the stove without the IPA. I suspect that in places like
>> Africa and Nepal IPA isn't quite as easy to come by.)
>> Lloyd Helferty, Engineering Technologist
>> Principal, Biochar Consulting (Canada)
>> 603-48 Suncrest Blvd, Thornhill, ON, Canada
>> 905-707-8754; 647-886-8754 (cell)
>> Skype: lloyd.helferty
>> Steering Committee member, Canadian Biochar Initiative
>> President, Co-founder& CBI Liaison, Biochar-Ontario
>> Advisory Committee Member, IBI
>> Biochar Offsets Group: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?home=&gid=2446475
>> "Necessity may be the mother of invention, but innovators need to address
>> problems before they become absolute necessities..."
>> On 2011-08-16 6:32 PM, Crispin Pemberton-Pigott wrote:
>>> Dear Lloyd
>>> That is great news. If you are passing through Waterloo please stop in
>>> so we can do a couple of emission tests.
>>> I was working on the weekend to burn one of the worst fuels I have
>>> seen so far -- a 100mm diameter high density sawdust log with no hole
>>> in the centre. Eventually I got it working well and boiled 5.2 litres
>>> in 16 minutes. I used a 130mm long piece standing up on end in a
>>> Vesto. I also tried drilling a 1 inch hole through the centre but to
>>> burn that it needs to be in 'gasifier mode'. That means starting with
>>> a higher primary air flow then closing it. Not as convenient but possible.
>>> *From:*stoves-bounces at lists.bioenergylists.org
>>> [mailto:stoves-bounces at lists.bioenergylists.org] *On Behalf Of *Lloyd
>>> *Sent:* 16 August 2011 14:31
>>> *To:* Discussion of biomass cooking stoves
>>> *Subject:* Re: [Stoves] Jatropha and its future
>>> Christina (And Jan),
>>> Just to let you (and everyone) know, I was able to successfully
>>> use/burn whole Jatropha nuts in a natural draft Top-Lit- UpDraft
>>> (TLUD) stove (made out of tin cans) at the recent CHAB Camp hosted by
>>> the Biomass Energy Foundation in Belchertown, MA. I did it outdoors
>>> on a windy day.
>>> While I did not intentionally inhale the smoke, I do not believe
>>> that the smoke of the J-nuts was any more toxic than other types of
>>> smoke. Hugh McLaughlin actually explained that the smoke from a
>>> Jatropha fire was likely just as toxic as from any other fire -- smoke
>>> of any kind tends to be something one should not breathe [hence the
>>> warning on cigarette boxes].
>>> My little natural draft TLUD produced very little smoke once the
>>> secondary airflow was adjusted properly and pyrolyzing the Jatropha
>>> nuts, although when it was left unattended it did start smoking a
>>> little bit at the end of the burn as the stove attempted to burn
>>> through the resulting biochar. (Although if this were running
>>> indoors, I would probably be more worried about the CO being produced
>>> than any toxicity that might arise from the J-nuts.)
>>> Lloyd Helferty, Engineering Technologist
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