SG Biofuels expands global jatropha hybrid trial network
SG Biofuels Inc., an energy crop company delivering high-performance bioenergy solutions for renewable fuel, biomass and chemical markets, has expanded its global network of hybrid trial and agronomic research sites to 15 with the addition of eight new JMax Knowledge Centers in Guatemala, Brazil and India.
Through its growing trial network, SGB continues to demonstrate the superior performance of its hybrids compared to commercial varieties across multiple geographies in terms of plant vigor, health, flowering consistency, stress tolerance and yield, validating the ability to produce crude Jatropha oil for less than $99 per barrel in a range of growing conditions.
Backed by the strong hybrid performance, the additional JMax Knowledge Centers significantly expand the company’s multiphased platform for deploying productive, profitable Jatropha projects that overcome the economic and agronomic challenges of previous efforts with the nonfood oilseed energy crop. In anticipation of strong seed demand, the company also continues to expand its production facility located in Guatemala.
“The performance of our hybrids in multiple geographies not only validates the strength of our genetics, but our ability to deploy profitable energy crop projects around the world,” said Kirk Haney, president and CEO. “Through our network of JMax Knowledge Centers, we are developing the highest performing hybrids of Jatropha while establishing best agronomic and production practices for deploying those hybrids at commercial scale.”
The additional trials include four locations in India, three in Brazil and one in Guatemala, and are in addition to the company’s existing trials and research centers in each country and at its corporate headquarters in San Diego, Calif.
JMax Knowledge Centers are professionally managed trials using experimental design and statistical analysis to evaluate hundreds of hybrids in a range of environmental and agronomic conditions. The centers serve as outdoor classrooms where SGB agronomists and technical teams conduct training and field tours with customers and growers, develop localized agronomic studies and recommendations while advancing the top performing Jatropha hybrids for commercial deployment. SGB’s hybrids have been developed following five years of research, drawing from a diverse germplasm library including more than 12,000 unique genotypes.
“Our JMax Knowledge Centers allow us to engage with customers at the product development stage, ensuring we are addressing the specific needs of their projects,” said Miguel Motta, chief operating officer. “Our partnership with energy companies and project developers to establish these new centers demonstrates their continued interest to deploy large-scale commercial projects.”
One such location has been deployed in Brazil in conjunction with Jetbio, leader of a multistakeholder initiative including Airbus, the Inter-American Development Bank, Bioventures Brasil, Air BP and TAM Airlines. SGB is working with Bioventures Brasil, an energy crop project developer, and other program partners on a multiphased program leading to the deployment of intercropped Jatropha plantations in the Central-west region of Brazil for the purpose of biojet fuel production.
“Developing the best hybrid material from SGB’s collection while establishing best agronomic practices are the foundations for our project,” said Rafael Davidsohn Abud, managing partner at Jetbio. “As we scale our project, using the best hybrid material and operational expertise from SGB gives us the greatest opportunity for success.”