Intercrop planting at biodiesel farms

By Nicholas Zeman | January 19, 2010
Posted January 20, 2010

Australian jatropha developer, Jatoil Ltd., is preparing integrate a crop into its Asian biofuel farms that is valued for its sweet leaves, being 40 times sweeter than sugar. Along with two other Australian firms, Nuflora and Floraquest, Jatoil will "intercrop" Stevia, a member of the sunflower family with origins in the Americas, which is said to be in strong demand from global food and beverage manufacturers as a natural low-calorie sweetener.

A joint venture company, JatlC Pty Ltd, will own the intellectual rights and provide the seeds and marketing support developed through the project. "The initial work with NuFlora and Floraquest will involve the identification of suitable crops, nursery management techniques and plant breeding," the company stated in a release.

Jatoil further stated that intercrop planting is becoming a best-practice in large-scale biofuel ag operations worldwide, providing significant additional revenue before jatoropha has reached maturity.

"Jatoil's biofuel farms will remain focused on producing oil from renewable sources, but a significant portion of future revenues were always going to come from the sale of products other than oil," said Jatoil CEO Phil Hodgson. "We will be able to sell waste biomass seedcake that is produced during the crushing process and also carbon credits. Now we see great potential in intercropping of products like Stevia."
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