SAN DIEGO, Feb. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- SG Biofuels, a sustainable plant oil company specializing in the development of Jatropha as a low-cost, sustainable source of oil, today announced the launch of JMax 100, a proprietary cultivar of Jatropha optimized for growing conditions in Guatemala with yields 100 percent greater than existing varieties.
JMax 100 is the first elite cultivar developed through the company's JMax Jatropha Optimization Platform. The platform provides growers and plantation developers with access to the highest yielding and most profitable Jatropha in the world, the sequenced genome and advanced biotech and synthetic biology tools to develop cultivars specifically optimized for their unique growing conditions.
"The yields and profitability of JMax100 and the JMax platform far exceed what is currently available through existing varieties of Jatropha," said Kirk Haney, President and Chief Executive Officer of SG Biofuels. "In Guatemala, we have utilized the world's largest library of Jatropha genetic material and our advanced genetic program to enable exponential increases in productivity and profitability, and establish Jatropha as a large-scale sustainable energy crop."
JMax 100 increases the profitability of Jatropha to greater than $400 per acre -- more than 300 percent above existing commercial varieties. This equates to more than 350 gallons per acre at $1.39 per gallon, enabling the large-scale growth of the nation's renewable fuel industry and development opportunities for community farmers, plantation developers and renewable energy investors.
JMax 100 and the JMax Jatropha Optimization Platform draw on more than three years of research, the strength of the SG Biofuels Genetic Resource Center (GRC) and a science team that includes three members of the National Academy of Sciences, the discipline's highest honor. The SG Biofuels GRC contains over 6,000 unique accessions of Jatropha.
"JMax 100 is the tip of the iceberg in the development of Jatropha as a renewable energy crop," said Haney. "While Guatemala now has a significant head-start, we anticipate continued advancements through the JMax platform that will further enhance the productivity and profitability of Jatropha for growers around the world."
SG Biofuels will work with a select group of partners and collaborators to optimize JMax for region-specific planting through the establishment of in-region technology centers. In addition to its work in Guatemala, the company is collaborating with the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center (HARC) to develop a customized Jatropha cultivar that can be used to meet the high demand for locally-grown renewable fuel.
"The key to success for any Jatropha project is having access to the best genetic material possible," said Stephanie Whalen, Executive Director of HARC. "Adding the depth and diversity of SG Biofuels' genetic library to our research program significantly enhances the effort to develop a strain of Jatropha that is well adapted to growing conditions in Hawaii."
Jatropha curcas is a non-edible shrub that is native to Central America. Its seeds contain high amounts of oil that can be refined using existing technology to produce diesel fuel, jet fuel, and specialty chemicals. It can be effectively grown on marginal lands that are considered undesirable for other crops.
SOURCE SG Biofuels