SG Biofuels raises $17 million for jatropha development

Bioenergy crop company SG Biofuels has closed a $17 million (€13 million) round of fundraising to go towards further developments of its hybrid jatropha seeds which can be used for biodiesel production.

The series B of financing was led by Thomas, McNerney & Partners; and Finistere Ventures and current investors Flint Hills Resources and Life Technologies were also involved.

Using the money, SG Biofuels will broaden its research and development facilities towards global commercialisation.

Jatropha does not compete with food, as it is non-edible, and can be grown on difficult crop cultivating lands. Through the use of molecular breeding and biotechnology, SG Biofuels is attempting to improve the yields of the crops, whilst at the same time reducing input costs. The seed is being improved so it will be able to be grown in a variety of conditions around the world.

The company has signed up customers so that it can develop 250,000 acres to be used for its jatropha crops, including an agreement with JETBIO, Inter-American Development Bank and TAM Airlines.

Of this land, 75,000 acres will be dedicated to growing crops in Brazil to produce bio jet fuel.

‘The funding comes at a time when we’re experiencing significant commercial adoption of our hybrid Jatropha and will be instrumental as we continue to expand our global footprint,’ says Kirk Haney, CEO at SG Biofuels.

The company also recently had two new members join its board of directors - Pratik Shah, partner at Thomas, McNerney, and Jerry Caulder, MD of Finistere Ventures.

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