Madagascar to Provide Biodiesel Production Boost

While U.S. biodiesel is typically made from soybeans, there are other options, particularly in other countries and climates. D1 Oils plc, the UK based producer of biodiesel, announced it is expanding in Madagascar where it will harvest some of the county’s ample Jatropha plantations for biodiesel production.

The company has identified approximately 17,000 hectares of existing Jatropha plantations and has made arrangements to access the output from the plantations. The arrangements have been made in collaboration with business-to-business aid agency BAMEX (Business and Market Expansion) of Madagascar. The trees are currently being used as supports for growing vanilla and are already yielding seeds. The arrangement will also provide additional income for the local vanilla farmers in the area. The first crop of Jatropha oil bearing seeds is expected to be available from mid 2005 and harvesting is planned to begin at that time. The company directors believe that seed yields will be consistent with the age of the trees being harvested. The area under cultivation in Madagascar is additional to the 37,000 hectares of plantations in Africa, India and The Philippines as outlined by D1 Oils in its Prospectus at the time of flotation in October 2004. It is also in addition to approximately 6,000,000 hectares of land available to the Company under option to contract. The expansion further advances the company’s objective to become the world’s leading low cost producer of biodiesel and feedstock for biodiesel. With this new partnership, the company expects to increase their overall cultivation capacity by nearly 50 percent. “The number of new opportunities D1 Oils is engaged in reflects our increasing global profile,” Philip Wood, Chief Executive of D1 Oils said. “The plantations in Madagascar are already yielding seeds which materially reduce the working capital we would otherwise need to develop this source of supply.”
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