1Institute for Animal Production in the Tropics and Subtropics, University of Hohenheim, 70593 Stuttgart, Germany
2Institute of Physics and Meteorology, University of Hohenheim, 70593 Stuttgart, Germany
3Institute for Agricultural Economics and Social Sciences in the Tropics and Subtropics, University of Hohenheim, 70593 Stuttgart, Germany
4S.T.E.P. Consulting GmbH, 52066 Aachen, Germany
5EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg A.G., 76131 Karlsruhe, Germany
Abstract. We present a comprehensive, interdisciplinary project which demonstrates that large-scale plantations of Jatropha curcas – if established in hot, dry coastal areas around the world – could capture 17–25 tonnes of carbon dioxide per hectare per year from the atmosphere (averaged over 20 yr). Based on recent farming results it is confirmed that the Jatropha curcas plant is well adapted to harsh environments and is capable of growing alone or in combination with other tree and shrub species with minimal irrigation in hot deserts where rain occurs only sporadically. Our investigations indicate that there is sufficient unused and marginal land for the widespread cultivation of Jatropha curcas to reduce significantly the current upward trend in atmospheric CO2 levels.
In a system in which desalinated seawater is used for irrigation and for delivery of mineral nutrients, the sequestration costs were estimated to range from 42–63 € per tonne CO2. This result makes carbon farming a technology that is competitive with carbon capture and storage (CCS). In addition, high-resolution simulations using an advanced land-surface-atmosphere model indicate that a 10 000 km2 plantation could produce a reduction in mean surface temperature and an onset or increase in rain and dew fall at a regional level.