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Startup SG Biofuels to Develop Jatropha as Source for Low-Cost, Sustainable Oil

Following three years of research, a team of energy, biotechnology and agribusiness veterans has formed SG Biofuels, a San Diego, CA-based plant oil company specializing in the development of Jatropha as a low-cost, sustainably produced source of oil. The company says that it has assembled the largest and most diverse library of Jatropha genetic material in the world, providing the opportunity to develop the most productive Jatropha strains.

Jatropha curcas is a non-edible shrub that is native to Central America. Its seeds contain high amounts of oil that can be used for a variety of bio-based materials including biodiesel and feedstock substitutes for the petrochemical and aviation fuel industries. It can be effectively grown on abandoned lands that are unsuitable for other crops.

Jatropha oil produced by SG Biofuels has been independently evaluated for its biodiesel qualities and verified to be a clean, stable source of fuel for biodiesel that meets or exceeds European specifications. The company’s Latin American Jatropha recently outperformed palm, soy and Jatropha from India on two differentiating criteria: low temperature performance and long-term storage stability.

Kirk Haney, President and Chief Executive Officer, introduced the company at the 2009 National Biodiesel Conference and Expo in San Francisco, CA, where he was the featured speaker on Jatropha.

SG Biofuels’ scientific team, led by Dr. Robert Schmidt, includes three members of the National Academy of Sciences.

The SG Biofuels team also includes Georges Daou as Chairman and Chief Business Development Officer. Daou founded Daou Systems, Inc., and for the past 10 years has chaired and invested in several start ups and invested in well known venture capital companies. Its board of advisors includes Edgar Masri, former CEO of 3Com Corporation, George Peat, former general manager for Kellogg Brown & Root in Saudi Arabia, and Herb Sostek, former President and CEO of Gibbs Oil Company.



Does anyone know about the costs/benefits of Jatropha vs. cellulosic ethanol? Seems to me that cellulosic ethanol (sweet sorghum, energy cane, miscanthus) provides much more bang for the buck than Jatropha....just curious if these guys are wasting their time & money.



Jatropha produces 500 to 750 Gallons/hectare of oil that contains almost twice the energy / unit of volume than ethanol. It can grow on marginal land an strive in semi-desertique climate, it doesn't require tilling, or large amount of water or fertilizer and prevent soil erosion. Last but not least there is not high tech processing to get the fuel, just press the seed and the oil can be directly used in a diesel reducing the pollution. You can do a simple trans estherification to make it more gazoil like but that's not an absolute necessity. The EROI of biodiesel is way higher than ethanol.

So try to beat that,

The main downside are, manual collection of the seeds, time to grow the tree, and relatively low prodcution per surface (but this should be improved through improvement of the plant in the future


And of course as CO2 atmosphere increases toward 500 ppm, the FACE studies show the plants will grow larger, faster. CO2 fertilization. It's in fact a good thing.


"CO2 fertilization"?? you're full of crap as usual. that canard was debunked long ago.


Different crops will be suited to each area.
Land potential, climate etc. Other crop options and uses, existing machinery use.
Manual harvesting and such in the developing world can be a boost to their economy as long as people have free choice and are encouraged to prioritise domestic needs. There are many examples of cash cropping displacing domestic food requirements leading to starvation and economic slavery.


Do you think $reel is a passive agressive (Sado masochist?) seems he enjoys provoking people into abuse.

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