Simon Robertson, over at the Big Biofuels Blog, has put together the following information on Pongamia.
1. It is a hardy blighter and grows well in wet, dry and saline soils. It fixes nitrogen and
its seeds are 30-40% oil, and it’s widely grown in India . (Pongamia’s Journey from Forest to Micro-enterprise for Improving Livelihoods)
2. It is a flowering shrub, like wisteria. (Purdue University Centre for New Crops and Plants Products)
3. It travels under a number of names and is also called Indian Beech,Pongam, Honge, Ponge, and Karanj. (Wikipedia)
4. The British Standards Institute studied it in India in the 1930s and it was proposed as a diesel alternative. (Honge Oil proves to be a good biodiesel)
5. People have transesterified it’s oil into biodiesel with properties close to ASTM diesel standards. (Preparation of biodiesel from crude oil of Pongamia pinnata)
On the surface Pongamia appears to be suited to some Australian soils and climates. The big issue isn’t how to grow it but how to harvest large quantities of the seeds efficiently in Australia where labour is far more expensive than India or China.
Source: Big Biofuels Blog (Thanks for the tip Sreenivas)