Brazil Opens its First Commercial Jatropha Biodiesel Facility

Brazil’s first commercial jatropha biodiesel project goes into operation this month following the delivery of BioDiesel Technologies’ (BDT) processing unit. BDT will deliver a further four processing units to increase the plant capacity to 40,000 t/y by the end of the year.

Project operator, Compahnhia Productora de Biodiesel de Tocantins, has formed agreements with local cooperatives and small farmers in the state of Tocantins to supply the biodiesel facility with the required feedstock. This has led to the establishment of 48,000 hectares of jatropha plantation, which will give an important boost to the local agricultural community. Jatropha, a non-edible high yielding oilseed crop, will provide a cheap and stable feedstock supply for the plant.

The multi-feedstock technology provided by BDT will also allow the use of animal tallow for the manufacture of biodiesel. This could prove to be a significant source of income to the large slaughterhouse industry within the Tocantins state, which has over 6 million head of cattle.

This operation, bringing local agricultural communities into the biofuel production process, will form the model upon which future Biodiesel operations in Brazil will be constructed; hence President Lula will show his support for the project in September. Brazil has introduced mandatory blends of 2% by 2008 and 5% by 2013 as well as numerous tax incentives for biodiesel producers that source their feedstock from local communities.

Compahnhia Productora de Biodiesel de Tocantins is examining project sites for a further two projects within the region, taking total regional production to over 120,000 tons of biodiesel per year.

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