Jatropha research expands in Brazil for biomass and fuels

Energy crop company SG Biofuels (SGB) is to work with two Brazilian companies to advance the development of jatropha as a next generation crop.

Agreements have been signed by SGB with agricultural research institution Embrapa and biodiesel refiner Fiagril.

‘These agreements validate the two years of progress we’ve made advancing our genetics in Brazil and provide a platform from which to expand commercial production,’ says SGB CEO Kirk Haney. ‘We look forward to benefiting from Embrapa’s expertise in Brazilian agriculture as we deploy Jatropha projects for Fiagril and other customers.’

SGB’s strategic research partnership with Embrapa will combine its breeding and genomics platform, with Embrapa's advancement in new technologies that have increased agricultural productivity in Brazil.

The agreement with Fiagril, the third largest company in the state of Mato Grosso with revenues in excess of US$1 billion (€744 million) a year, includes the establishment of an SGB jatropha research centre near Fiagril’s 200,000 tonne capacity biodiesel plant.

‘We have identified jatropha as one of the most promising energy crops for the production of oil for biodiesel and bio-jet fuel in Brazil,’ adds Manoel Souza, general director of Embrapa Agroenergy.  ‘The first efforts to deploy the crop in Brazil were plagued by a lack of improved cultivars and insufficient technological expertise.  We’re confident that with SGB we can overcome those challenges.’

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