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SG Biofuels and Bunge form strategic alliance on Jatropha for biofuel feedstock

SG Biofuels, a bioenergy crop company developing and producing elite seeds of Jatropha, has established a strategic partnership with Bunge North America, the North American operating arm of Bunge Limited to research and develop a model to process Jatropha seeds into a biofuel feedstock.

Bunge, a global leader in oilseed processing, joins an industry-leading team of partners, including Flint Hills Resources, a refining and petrochemical company and wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries; Life Technologies Corporation, a global biotechnology tools company; and others that are collaborating with SG Biofuels to develop Jatropha as a viable source for cost-effective, sustainable crude plant oil.

The development of a successful market for Jatropha requires that all aspects of the value chain are met, from crop science and proper agronomics all the way through processing and refining. Bunge, together with Life Technologies and Flint Hills Resources, provides a fully integrated platform from which our customers can develop, produce and profit from large volumes of crude Jatropha oil.

—SG Biofuels President and Chief Executive Officer Kirk Haney

Jatropha curcas is a non-edible shrub native to Central America. Its seeds have high oil content, and can be processed to produce a high-quality energy feedstock. It can be effectively grown on marginal lands that are considered undesirable for food crops.

The company’s integrated breeding and biotechnology approach forms the foundation for its JMax Jatropha Optimization Platform, providing research agencies, growers and plantation developers with access to the company’s germplasm library, Jatropha curcas genome sequence, molecular markers and advanced biotech and synthetic biology tools to optimize elite Jatropha cultivars for unique growing conditions around the world.

SG Biofuels has introduced JMax 100, an elite Jatropha cultivar optimized for growing conditions in Guatemala, with projected yields 100% greater than existing commercial varieties. The company also recently announced it has developed hybrid seed production technology, resulting in greater yield, uniformity and vigor while significantly reducing handling and deployment costs for plantation developers.



Jatropha JMax 100 (claimed) very high yield have not materialized. Five and ten already year old cultivars barely produced 350 gals/acre under ideal conditions. The yield per Kg of seed remained about the same between 16% and 23% depending on the extraction method used. The 30% previously claimed was never reached.

Since Jatropha from Central America grows in similar environment to Sugar canes and the yield for canes have reached about 700 gals/acre (from starch/sugar only) and could do better using sugar + bagasse, the choice seems to be in favor of canes, specially for ethanol/butanol procuction.

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