SG Biofuels to Plant Jatropha in Brazil to Compete With Kerosene
Closely held SG Biofuels, also supported by the Inter- American Development Bank, will produce unrefined jatropha oil that will sell for $75 a barrel, President Kirk Haney said in an interview yesterday. Refined jet fuel cost about $126 a barrel in New York Harbor spot market on Sept. 12, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
High petroleum prices and government pressure to lower greenhouse-gas emissions linked to climate change are prompting airlines to experiment with plant-derived fuels. Grupo Aeromexico SAB de CV flew the first commercial transcontinental flight with a plant oil-kerosene blend on Aug. 2. Test flights have shown that planes can fly on fuel made with weeds, wood chips and algae.
Jatropha “is the most practical way of blending with jet fuel today,” Haney said. The plant produces inedible oil and grows well in low-quality soils.
The development of higher-yielding seeds is expected to bring prices down to $38 a barrel in ten years, he said. Manufacturing so-called bio-kerosene from jatropha oil is already “cost-effective” with crude oil prices at $112 a barrel, he said.
SG Biofuels will develop its plantations with Bioventures Brasil in west-central Brazil, according to the statement. The seeds will be crushed into 45 million liters (11.9 million gallons) of oil once the plantations reach maturity in 2015 and then processed into fuel in the state of Sao Paulo, Haney said.
Similar-sized projects in different countries will be announced in the coming months, Haney said.
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