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Komatsu Seeks Bio-Diesel Customers in Asia, Africa

Komatsu Ltd., the world’s second-largest maker of mining trucks and excavators, plans to seek more customers for bio-diesel fuel from a joint venture pilot project in Indonesia that’s due to start output this year.

The Kalimantan plant will use bio-diesel made from jatropha shrubs to produce fuel for Komatsu’s dump trucks, Senior Executive Officer Masao Fuchigami said in an interview. Komatsu aims to market the carbon-reducing fuel in Southeast Asia and Africa as soon as production stabilizes, he said.

“We’ve got inquiries from companies interested” in bio-fuel-powered trucks, Fuchigami said yesterday at Komatsu’s headquarters in Tokyo. “We see big potential.”

Companies from Boeing Co. to Daimler AG are trying to develop alternative energy sources to cut carbon-dioxide emissions amid a global push to combat climate changes. Jatropha, which is inedible and grows faster than sugar or corn, can be cultivated in less-fertile soil and its fuel derivative is suited for use in warm climates. Low temperatures can cause bio-diesel to coagulate.

Shares of Komatsu, whose customers include Rio Tinto Group, Vale SA and Codelco, gained 1.2 percent to 1,726 yen at the 3 p.m. close on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The shares earlier fell as much as 1.4 percent.

Komatsu teamed up with PT Adaro Energy, Indonesia’s second-largest coal producer, and PT United Tractors to produce biodiesel for Komatsu dump trucks used at the Adaro coal mine, the Tokyo-based company said in August last year. The target is to operate about 100 dump trucks as soon as 2012, the statement said.

Komatsu estimates that 1,000 biofuel-powered dump trucks will cut 200,000 tons of CO2 emissions a year, equivalent of the carbon emission at the company’s factories in Japan, Fuchigami said. The company may seek to use emission-trading to cancel domestic carbon emissions, he said.

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