Blantyre, Malawi — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 20 May 2011 – Bio Energy Resources Limited of Malawi is planning to build an US$18 million plant to produce bio-fuels from jatropha seeds, the Daily Times reported, citing company CEO Lourie Webb.
The company plans to start trial output in the final quarter of the year before commercial production starts in 2016, the newspaper said here, quoting Webb. Bio Energy has signed up 30,000 farmers to grow jatropha around the southern African nation, the Times added.
Seed harvested from jatropha trees yields oil that can be used in the manufacture of bio-diesel.
Jatropha is also being produced in large quantities in the Chimoio region of Mozambique, and will be processed and transformed into bio-diesel at a future factory to be built in the city of Beira, according to state daily newspaper Notícias.
The paper said that the factory “’ the second in this part of Mozambique “’ would belong to Mozambican oil company Petromoc.
“In addition to jatropha from Chimoio that is being produced by SunBiofuels, the bio-fuel factory due to be set up in Beira will use jatropha from other regions in the Sofala and Manica provinces,” said SunBiofuels Mozambique director Sérgio Gouveia.
At the moment, according to Gouveia, Manica province is producing 6.3 million litres of jatropha oil per year, which will be transformed into bio-diesel at the factory that Petromoc is planning in Beira. No dates have been set for the factory to open, but Gouveia said that the process was at an advanced stage.
Gouveia added that SunBiofuels currently had a plantation of almost 4,000 hectares of jatropha, and that 18,000 tons of seeds had been collected in the current harvest.
The company currently has a total of 5,000 hectares of land under concession on the outskirts of the city of Chimoio, and plans to increase the area to 11,000 hectares, where it expects annual production of 66,000 tons of seeds, which could produce up to 23 million litres of jatropha oil per year.