Casterra to sell castor seeds for cultivation to leading oil and gas company; $9.1M initial purchase
Casterra Ag Ltd., an integrated castor cultivation solution company and a subsidiary of Evogene Ltd. signed a framework agreement to sell seeds of its proprietary castor varieties to one of the world’s leading oil and gas companies for cultivation in specific African territories.
Initial purchase orders, valued at an aggregate of $9.1 million, were received and the seeds are expected to be delivered during 2023. Casterra’s high-yield, high-oil castor seed varieties are optimized for biofuel production to support the growing market of sustainable energy.
Based on Casterra’s analysis, the purchase orders reported can support the production of approximately 1.5% of the current world demand for non-fossil oil for biodiesel.
The biodiesel market is estimated at ~$92 billion in 2021—about 9% of the overall global diesel market—and is expected to reach ~$190 billion by 2030, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.33% from 2022-2030. In current industry practice, biodiesel is based on a mix of about 93-95% fossil oil and 5-7% non-fossil oil from plants or other sources. The demand for plant oil for biodiesel could increase either by growth of the biodiesel segment in the regular diesel market and/or by an increase in the percentage of plant oil used in the biodiesel mix.
Biofuels offer significant advantages over conventional petrochemical fuels, presenting a renewable and biodegradable alternative with substantially lower negative environmental impact compared to other alternative fuel sources. Castor emerges as a standout biofuel candidate due to its carbon-neutral properties, with emissions during combustion closely matching the carbon dioxide absorbed during the growth of castor plants. Furthermore, the castor plant can be cultivated on marginal lands, in semi-arid to arid conditions, and it does not compete on ground with edible crops.
Casterra, as Evogene’s subsidiary, spearheads the development of proprietary high-yield castor varieties leveraging the company’s cutting-edge computational biology technologies. By utilizing Evogene’s GeneRator AI tech engine and incorporating advanced computational AI capabilities and proprietary plant genomic databases, Casterra has unlocked the potential to produce castor varieties with exceptional yield and high oil content, setting new standards in the biofuel industry.
Casterra has built its castor genetic assets based on a broad collection of more than 300 castor lines from more than 40 different geographic and climatic regions. As part of its development process, Casterra applies advanced breeding methods utilizing Evogene’s Generator AI tech-engine, enabling the use of cutting-edge plant genomics tools and agro-technique expertise to enable efficient and sustainable industrial-scale production of the castor bean.