Casterra’s castor seeds to be used in biofuel production

By Casterra Ag Ltd. | June 23, 2023

Casterra Ag Ltd., an integrated castor cultivation solution company and a subsidiary of Evogene Ltd., announced June 21 that it signed a framework agreement to sell seeds of its proprietary castor varieties to one of the world's leading oil and gas companies for cultivation in specific African territories. Initial purchase orders, valued at an aggregate of $9.1 million, were received and the seeds are expected to be delivered during 2023. Casterra’s high-yield, high-oil castor seed varieties are optimized for biofuel production to support the growing market of sustainable energy. 

The biodiesel market is estimated at approximately $92 billion in 2021, which is about 9 percent of the overall global diesel market and is expected to reach approximately $190 billion by 2030, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.33 percent from 2022-2030. In current industry practice, biodiesel is based on a mix of about 93-95 percent fossil oil and 5-7 percent non-fossil oil from plants or other sources. The demand for plant oil for biodiesel could increase either by growth of the biodiesel segment in the regular diesel market and/or by an increase in the percentage of plant oil used in the biodiesel mix. Based on Casterra’s analysis, the purchase orders reported today can support the production of approximately 1.5 percent of the current world demand for non-fossil oil for biodiesel. 

Biofuels offer significant advantages over conventional petrochemical fuels, presenting a renewable and biodegradable alternative with substantially lower negative environmental impact compared to other alternative fuel sources. Castor emerges as a standout biofuel candidate due to its carbon-neutral properties, with emissions during combustion closely matching the carbon dioxide absorbed during the growth of castor plants. Furthermore, the castor plant can be cultivated on marginal lands, in semi-arid to arid conditions, and it does not compete on ground with edible crops. 

Casterra, as Evogene’s subsidiary, spearheads the development of proprietary high-yield castor varieties leveraging the company’s cutting-edge computational biology technologies. By utilizing Evogene’s GeneRator AI tech engine and incorporating advanced computational AI capabilities and proprietary plant genomic databases, Casterra has unlocked the potential to produce castor varieties with exceptional yield and high oil content, setting new standards in the biofuel industry.

Eyal Ronen, CEO of Casterra stated, “We are thrilled with this business opportunity, which signifies a transformative step forward in the biofuel industry. By harnessing Evogene's cutting-edge computational biology technologies, Casterra is at the forefront of developing and supplying high-performance seeds for biofuel production that address the growing demand for cleaner and more sustainable energy. We believe that this achievement is just the beginning of a long-term relationship with our existing partner; together we are driving the future of sustainable energy solutions for the benefit of our planet.”




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