Industry consortium launches new company to exploit the potential of jatropha as a jet biofuel
Jatropha seed pods
Thu 26 Feb 2009 – A consortium of biofuel and carbon offset interests have formed a new company, JatrophaBioJet Corporation, to tap the potential of jatropha as an alternative jet fuel. It aims to provide a cooperative single point exchange for the worldwide supply and purchase of jatropha jet fuel and a carbon offset opportunity. JatrophaBioJet believes the recent successful in-flight trials using jatropha-derived biofuels provide an opportunity to exploit a requirement for 200 million barrels of jet biofuel by 2017.
Jatropha oil was used on the recent test flights undertaken by Air New Zealand, Continental and Japan Airlines, which was sourced from US/Indian company Terasol Energy.
Commenting on the launch of the new company, Dr Charles V. Fishel, the Chairman of JatrophaBioJet (JBJ), said: “JBJ is being formed with the objective of being a major international player in the use of jatropha oil as a replacement for aviation jet fuel. The world’s annual consumption of civil aviation jet fuel is about 2 billion barrels. The International Air Transport Association has stated it wants 10% of jet fuel to come from biofuels by 2017. Today, jatropha oil is the most desirable biofuel additive to jet fuel – a potential market of at least 200 million barrels of JatrophaBioJet fuel per year.”
Monterey, California-based JBJ is a collaboration between renewable energy company Abundant Biofuels Corporation, of which Dr Fishel is also Chairman; South Pole Carbon Asset Management, which develops carbon credit projects and is based in Zurich, Switzerland; and environmental credits developer Mitch Hawkins & Co, also based in California, which claims it has an involvement in projects valued at around $1.5 billion.
“JatrophaBioJet will operate at the intersection of jatropha biofuels, aerospace and carbon credits,” said Mitch Hawkins, the new company’s CEO. “Renewable sourcing combined with a reduction in carbon emissions is the primary object in aircraft burning a petroleum replacement. Oil costs fluctuate and when they are high, this alternative is disruptively cheaper. Today, with very low oil prices, they are probably equivalent. However, pricewise, if you think oil will be higher in the future, you need to get ready to fly jatropha.”
The President and CEO of JBJ is Dr Daniel T. Colbert, who is also Executive Director of the Institute for Energy Efficiency at the University of California Santa Barbara and founder of Carbon Nanotechnologies.
Abundant Biofuels claims to be the world’s largest developer of jatropha with several million hectares under development or predevelopment in five different countries. According to the company’s website, its management team was responsible for planning, funding and establishment of jatropha farming and biodiesel operations in West Africa but was refocusing its efforts to profitably develop the rest of the world, beginning with the Western Hemisphere.