I just received a package from India. Yes, I know it was a terribly long distance to order something for a green living site; but my buying options were extremely limited in the U.S. So, turning to Ebay, I managed to find what I was looking for fairly quickly. And now, after traveling thousands of miles, I have my first jatropha seeds.
What’s jatropha? It’s a small shrub that is being planted by the millions throughout China, India, and Brazil as an alternative to oil. What makes it unique in the biofuel industry is its ability to produce a great deal of oil that needs very little refinement. A one-metre hedge will produce one kilogram of seeds with each seed containing about 1/3 of oil. 5 kilograms of seeds will give you roughly one litre. It yields more than four times as much fuel per hectare as soybean, and more than ten times that of corn. It’s extremely easy to grow, lives up to 50 years and produces seeds for its whole lifetime. Furthermore, the species is drought-resistant, can be grown at high altitudes and can withstand slight frosts. In the right conditions, each plant can grow eight or ten meters in height!
With all the frightening news over bee losses throughout the world, it appears that one tiny minor piece of information was overlooked: the losses are occurring in colonies besieged with chemicals and artificial additives. Organic bees are fairing quite nicely, thank you. From the article,
“‘I’m on an organic beekeeping list of about 1,000 people, mostly Americans, and no one in the organic beekeeping world, including commercial beekeepers, is reporting colony collapse on this list,’ said Sharon Labchuck. ‘The problem with the big commercial guys is that they put pesticides in their hives to fumigate for varroa mites, and they feed antibiotics to the bees. They also haul the hives by truck all over the place to make more money with pollination services, which stresses the colonies.’”
The Vectrix shareholder report for April 2007 just dropped into my lap. Besides some beautiful eye candy, the document lays out some important milestones reached by the company; as well as future developments underway for the vehicle line. Here are some of the highlights:
>>Financially, Vectrix has firmed things up by appointing HSBC to undertake a strategic review which could lead to a flotation. Such a move could would see the company valued at up to 200m. Yee Haw. Additionally, the big V might put itself up for sale to attract a larger company or interested private party. We’ll keep our ears open on this one.
>>Besides its launch in the EU late last Fall, Vectrix now poised to push the new all-electric bikes in the UK (indeed, they launched yesterday) and in the U.S. by the end of June. Over 2,100 customer reservations in the U.S. alone are waiting to be fulfilled. The first 700 scooters allocated for the American market will see a roll out in major U.S. cities so as to increase visibility of the product. Look for the bikes in Seattle, Austin, Portland, San Francisco, Newport, and other locales. By the end of 2007, there will be up to 50 official Vectrix dealers in 8 countries (Italy, Spain, England, Portugal, Switzerland, Greece, Australia, and USA). Plans are already underway to expand distribution to Japan, France, Germany, and Israel.