Semi - mechanical harvesting of Jatropha curcas L.: a preliminary study in North Africa
Pari, L.; Suardi, A.; Figorilli, S.; Fornaciari, L.; Scarfone, A.; Papazoglu, E. G.; Santangelo, E.
21st European Biomass Conference and Exhibition, 3-7 June 2013, Copenhagen, Denmark.
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Via Giacomini 28, I - 50132 Florence.
ETA-Florence Renewable Energies.
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Jatropha curcas L. is a plant able to grow in arid climates. The oil contained into the seeds can be used for energy purposes. Considering the industrial perspectives that this plant could have, it may represent an opportunity for local rural communities of North African countries, stimulating the creation of jobs, the reduction of poverty by the potential development of a self-economy, and the possibility to become self-sufficient in energy. This concept was already clear to the EU, which has funded the project Jatromed, with the aim to spread the cultivation of Jatropha in Egypt, Morocco and Algeria. This work aim at presenting the preliminary results of a field test performed in Morocco with a commercial olive picker modified to a branch shaker for the facilitated harvesting of Jatropha fruits. This machine was chosen owing to of its low cost, the high versatility, potential affordability in the future, and bearing in mind the socio-economic conditions of local people and the morphological characteristics of the plant. During the field test, the vibration frequencies generated by the device were varied in a range between 5 and 12 Hz, respecting the limits set to keep the working environment safe for the operators. The test gave unsatisfactory results, also using the maximum frequency available (20 Hz) and the fixed amplitude (0.7 cm), underling the crucial role played by a high amplitude rather than the frequency.