SG Biofuels signs customers for jatropha seeds on 250,000 acres

By Erin Voegele | May 16, 2011

SG Biofuels Inc., a bioenergy crop company using breeding and biotechnology to develop elite hybrid seeds of jatropha, has announced the signing of customers for the deployment of 250,000 acres of jatropha using its JMax hybrid seeds. According to SG Biofuels, its hybrid seeds on average provide double the yield of existing commercial varieties planted in similar conditions. As a result, JMax seeds results in greater uniformity and vigor while significantly reducing seed handling and deployment costs.

SG Biofuels CEO Kirk Haney noted that his company has been working to develop its jatropha hybrid for four years. “We are the global market leader in jatropha as a bioenergy seed crop company,” he said. “I think by signing this many customers, it puts very far ahead by way of comparison.” Haney estimates that about 5 million acres of wild jatropha seeds have been planted globally. The results with the wild seed have been candidly mixed results, Haney continued. “Some projects have done well, some have failed,” he said.

The area covered by the orders is geographically dispersed, Haney said, noting that the smallest order has been for 25,000 acres of seeds. “Latin America and Asia are two regions that we’ve spent most of our effort, and that is where the bulk of that seed is going,” he continued.

The company also announced it is adding to its jatropha crop improvement network by deploying JMax development centers in multiple locations around the world where SG Biofuels will optimize elite hybrid varieties of jatropha that are well adapted to the specific growing conditions of its customers. The centers feature hybrid material from the company’s germplasm library totaling more than 12,000 unique genotypes.

As for the future goals of his company, Haney said SG Biofuels will continue executing its business plan and increasing scale. “We’re working with some great customers throughout the globe, and we just want to continue to get more seeds in the ground so we can help our customers produce large volumes of sustainably produced crude oil,” he said.

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