In the interdisciplinary program JARAK Dutch and Indonesian researchers have been studying how a promising technological innovation that responded to global discourses on energy and climate crisis became implemented in Indonesian society. The program traced the rise of Jatropha as a commercial crop in Indonesia, assessing the assumptions underlying its introduction. It investigated the production potentials in Indonesian circumstances, and identified how legislation, governance and policy concerning Jatropha have led to benefits for various actors involved, including effects on local producers’ livelihoods. JARAK focused on Jatropha as an energy crop, as a powerful idea, the object of a rapid commoditization process, and a possible source of income for farmers. This presentation will explain how realities in the field differed from the original optimistic plans, and discusses the implications of JARAK’s process-analysis of the jatropha introduction for understanding impacts of media-hyped technological innovations.