Transition towards Jatropha biofuels in Tanzania?

Mar 2006

This thesis is written for the fulfillment of the Master Innovation Sciences, Technology and Policy for Developing Economies at the Eindhoven University of Technology. For this thesis I conducted a field study of three months in Tanzania, from March till June 2005.
Eindhoven University of Technology is exploring the potential of biofuels in Tanzania, where the population is mostly rural, very poor and without adequate energy services. Production of biofuel could help to stop soil erosion, create additional income for the rural poor and provide a source of energy both locally and internationally. Thus, it could also earn foreign exchange.
Current initial activities in Tanzania have been directed towards the use of Jatropha curcas L., an indigenous plant which does not require a lot of water and nutrients and has a relatively high oil yield. However, so far it is not clear how a transition based on Jatropha could be realised, or what factors influence the process. Therefore, the main research question posed in this research is:
What is the status of the transition process towards Jatropha biofuels in Tanzania, and how can the process be improved?
Strategic Nice Management (SNM) was adopted as the principal method for this research. Since it was designed specifically to investigate the experimental introduction of new sustainable technologies through societal experiments, it could be expected to be a suitable research instrument for a multidisciplinary study about the prospects for a transition towards Jatropha biofuels in Tanzania; for documenting the initial activities and processes in that direction; and for taking stock of the important stimulating and constraining factors in that process.
The first chapter starts by presenting some background information on the research problem and some of the characteristics of Tanzania. It goes on to set out the research aim and research questions as well as the limitations of the research. After describing the research method (the research model is described in Chapter 2) it outlines the structure of the thesis.

By: J. van Eijck (Eindhoven University of Technology)

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