SG Biofuels has today announced it has teamed with JETBIO, leader of a multi-stakeholder initiative including Airbus, the Inter-American Development Bank, Bioventures Brasil, Rio Pardo Bioenergia, Air BP and TAM Airlines, to accelerate the production of crude Jatropha oil as a source for aviation bio jet fuel in Brazil.
SGB will work with Bioventures Brasil, an energy crop project developer, and other program partners on a multi-phased program leading to the deployment of 75,000 acres of intercropped Jatropha plantations in the Central-west region of Brazil using SGB’s JMax™ hybrid seeds. The crude Jatropha oil produced will be converted into biokerosene to supply customer airlines.
“The addition of SG Biofuels is a critical piece of the value chain, as their ability to develop high performing Jatropha plants will enable the production of large volumes of cost-effective feedstock for biofuels in Brazil,” said Rafael Davidsohn Abud, managing partner at JETBIO, a Brazil-based company specializing in biofuels projects.
Over the initial phase of the program, SGB will develop hybrid varieties of Jatropha adapted to growing conditions in the Central-west region, and work with Bioventures Brasil and Rio Pardo Bioenergia to select, test and scale the highest yielding hybrids for the planned deployment of the commercial project. The Central-west region was selected because of the large availability of underutilized pastureland presenting an excellent opportunity for intercropping Jatropha with cattle husbandry activities.
“Jatropha has proven to be the most cost-effective and sustainable feedstock for renewable jet fuel but the challenge lies in scaling production to meet the demand,” said Paul Nash, head of new energies at Airbus.
“SGB’s ability to adapt hybrid varieties of Jatropha specifically for the growing conditions in Central-west Brazil is a significant step in generating the much-needed supply and another step to supporting the Airbus strategy of one Biofuel commercialisation project in each continent and attaining the aviation targets of Carbon Neutral growth by 2020.”
JETBIO has adopted a multi-feedstock approach for aviation biofuel production, focusing on the development of cost-efficient and sustainable sources such as Jatropha and sugar-cane derived biomass. Funding of the initial phase of the program include contributions from Airbus and the Inter-American Development Bank.
“The favorable growing conditions in Central-west Brazil combined with our hybrid varieties provide the strongest platform to develop a successful Jatropha project,” said Kirk Haney, president and chief executive officer of SG Biofuels.
“We are very supportive of efforts that address the complete value chain and are excited to be working with JETBIO and its partners.”
AIRBUS is pushing for sustainable production and commercialization of Biofuels in order to reach global aviation targets (to drastically reduce GHG emissions by 2020 and beyond). It acts as a catalyst by developing sustainable Value-Chain Projects (at least one per continent). In November 2010, TAM Airlines and Airbus conducted a successful test flight using a Jatropha-based biofuel blend — the first biofuel test flight aboard a commercial aircraft in Latin America. Jatropha is now being used for commercial flights by Lufthansa, Interjet and Aeromexico.
“With the ongoing volatility in oil prices driving up the cost of energy, Jatropha is not only a highly sustainable alternative, but provides a stable, cost-effective source of fuel,” said Paulus Figueredo, Energy Manager for TAM Airlines.
“We look forward to the opportunity to access fuel produced by this joint initiative.”