Mission triples jatropha oil sales to power co.

By Bryan Sims | December 20, 2010
Posted Dec. 22, 2010

Australia-based biodiesel refiner and jatropha plantation company Mission NewEnergy Ltd. completed its second commercial sale and shipment of crude jatropha oil to one of Europe's largest utilities for power generation. Mission NewEnergy would not disclose the name of the power company.

The shipment, comprised of 60 metric tons of unrefined crude jatropha oil, was three times the size of its first shipment in October when the company shipped 20 metric tons. At approximately $119 per barrel, the second sale price to Europe represented a 34 percent premium to prevailing crude oil prices. Mission NewEnergy's first shipment sold at about $130 per barrel.

"Over the next 30 years, the acreage cultivated by Mission's farmers is expected to produce an estimated 20 million barrels of sustainable nonfood oil supply," said Nathan Mahalingam. "If sold at the same price, the market value of our jatropha oil supply is over $2.4 billion."

The company said it expects to make further sales of crude jatropha oil or jatropha oil-based biodiesel after the 2010-'11 harvest season.

Mission operates a 100,000 metric ton (30 MMgy) biodiesel facility in Kuantan Port, Malaysia. The company is in the process of commissioning a 250,000 metric ton (75 MMgy) facility adjacent to the Kuantan Port facility. Though it uses traditional pressing methods to crush its jatropha seeds into oil to be used as feedstock, the company plans to introduce solvent extraction methods to increase oil yields. The company stated that oil from its jatropha farms will eventually replace crude palm oil as feedstock for its biodiesel manufacturing plants.

Meanwhile, Mission NewEnergy and JOil Pte Ltd. entered into a strategic partnership to pursue the growing of jatropha plants and threes from elite jatropha seedlings. JOil is a joint venture company that consists of Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory of Singapore, TATA Chemicals and Toyota Tsusho Group.

Under terms of the collaborative agreement, JOil will provide elite jatropha plant seedlings and plant materials for Mission's next planting seasons in India beginning in 2011. JOil and Mission will also jointly explore new jatropha plantation projects in Malaysia and Indonesia where JOil will provide elite jatropha planting materials and funding for the proposed plantations.

JOil has been conducting a comprehensive breeding program to generate hybrid plants based on biodiversity present in natural germplasms. Other desirable traits from genetically compatible species are also being introduced into jatropha through introgression breeding. According to Mission, JOil's trial results have demonstrated a material increase in yield per acre and significant shortening of gestation time.

"Mission has a demonstrated ability to successfully plant, nurture and bring to harvest jatropha," said Peter Chia, chief operating officer of TLL and a director on the JOil board. "We are pleased to be able to deploy our high yielding varieties with such a large and well-organized commercialization partner."
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