Saudi Arabian Plantations to Produce Biodiesel

In the traditional markets for biodiesel, like the U.S., the renewable fuel’s greatest selling point is that it’s a domestically produced clean fuel. But who says oil-rich nations like Saudi Arabia can’t also take part in developing cleaner fuels? It might be one of the last places you would expect to find any sort of renewable energy investment but a British company has just struck a deal with the Middle-Eastern nation for the large-scale, commercial production of biodiesel.

The UK-based D1 Oils is creating D1 Oils Arabia Limited with Jazeera For Modern Technology. D1 Oils Arabia will be a 50/50 joint venture and will manage the plantation of jatropha trees, which D1 Oils uses as feedstock to produce renewable biodiesel. Biodiesel can be made from other sources as well like soybeans, the predominant feedstock in the U.S. D1 Oils Arabia will also install refineries in Saudi Arabia and expand the D1 Oils brand throughout Saudi Arabia and into other Gulf area countries. The formation of D1 Oils Arabia is expected not only to provide Saudi based customers with innovative alternative renewable fuel solutions, but also help stem desertification and reclaim land by the planting of jatropha on marginalized land. As jatropha is a non-edible crop, D1 Oils is able to irrigate the plantations with wastewater that otherwise would have been difficult to dispose of. Jazeera will contribute 5000 hectares of land to be owned by the joint venture for a pilot plantation, with access to an additional 100,000 hectares on successful completion. “Jazeera is excited to be partnering with D1 Oils, who we see as the global leader in the development of alternative fuels and biodiesel production today, and we look forward to working with them to establish new renewable fuel solutions and helping reduce carbon emissions,” said Sheikh Soued Al Blaihed, Chairman of Jazeera For Modern Technology. “This venture will develop new industries in Saudi Arabia which will in turn provide sources of new jobs and environmentally directed applications.” D1 will be in charge of all technicalities and the ongoing maintenance of the plantations and the biodiesel refineries. The commissioning of the first D1 20 refinery in Saudi Arabia is expected as soon as the plantations come on stream, which is projected to be in the second half of 2006. More refineries will be necessary as the jatropha production increases.

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