SG Biofuels, a sustainable plant oil company specializing in the development of Jatropha as a low-cost, sustainable source of oil, has launched JMax 100, a proprietary cultivar of Jatropha optimized for growing conditions in Guatemala with yields 100% greater than existing varieties.
JMax 100 is the first elite cultivar developed through the company’s JMax Jatropha Optimization Platform. The platform provides growers and plantation developers with access to high yielding Jatropha and the sequenced genome and advanced biotech and synthetic biology tools to develop cultivars specifically optimized for their unique growing conditions.
JMax 100 increases the profitability of Jatropha to greater than $400 per acre—more than 300% above existing commercial varieties, according to the company. This equates to more than 350 gallons per acre at $1.39 per gallon, enabling the large-scale growth of the nation’s renewable fuel industry and development opportunities for community farmers, plantation developers and renewable energy investors.
JMax 100 and the JMax Jatropha Optimization Platform draw on more than three years of research, the strength of the SG Biofuels Genetic Resource Center (GRC) and a science team that includes three members of the National Academy of Sciences. The SG Biofuels GRC contains more than 6,000 unique accessions and an array of Jatropha genetic traits including enhanced fruit yield, pest resistance, soil adaptation, improved flowering capabilities, uniformity and improved harvesting, all of which enhance profitability per acre of the crop.
JMax 100 is the tip of the iceberg in the development of Jatropha as a renewable energy crop. While Guatemala now has a significant head-start, we anticipate continued advancements through the JMax platform that will further enhance the productivity and profitability of Jatropha for growers around the world.
—Kirk Haney, President and Chief Executive Officer
SG Biofuels will work with a select group of partners and collaborators to optimize JMax for region-specific planting through the establishment of in-region technology centers. In addition to its work in Guatemala, the company is collaborating with the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center (HARC) to develop a customized Jatropha cultivar that can be used to meet the high local demand for locally-grown renewable fuel.
Jatropha curcas is a non-edible shrub that is native to Central America. Its seeds contain high amounts of oil that can be refined using existing technology to produce diesel fuel, jet fuel, and specialty chemicals. It can be effectively grown on marginal lands that are considered undesirable for other crops.