Thursday, July 21, 2005

Indian Company Powering the Jatropha Revolution

D1 Oils, a British company, is making news the world over as a leader in Jatropha based bio-diesel production. D1 Oils basically procures Jatropha oil or the trans-esterified version which is bio-diesel. Thus an important strategy for D1 is contract farming.

As part of contract farming, the company gives Jatropha plants to farmers. Now an Indian company could become the global hub for providing Jatropha plants to D1 Oils.

Mysore-based Labland Biotech, which has been in the news for its Jatropha oil procurement JV with D1 Oils, will initially produce 10 million tissue-cultured Jatropha plants, and is in a Rs 60 lakh deal with D1 oils to promote the cloned plants globally. The linked story provides some useful pointers.

Jatropha provides about 1000 barrels of diesel per square mile annually. The entire process for producing bio-diesel from Jatropha is pretty low-tech and it thus has the potential to become an important grass-roots movement as a cottage industry. Jatropha is ideal for an estimated 50 to 130 million hectares of wastelands, which for a variety of reasons like salinity are unavailable for agriculture.