ADM to study use of tropical plant in biofuels

by Jeff Gelski
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MONHEIM, GERMANY — Archer Daniels Midland Co., Bayer CropScience AG and Daimler AG have signed a respective Memorandum of Understanding to explore the potential for a biodiesel industry based on a tropical plant called Jatropha. Biodiesel derived from Jatropha nut kernels has properties similar to those of biofuels obtained from oilseed rapes and has a positive carbon dioxide balance that may contribute to protecting the climate, according to Bayer CropScience.

ADM, Decatur, Ill., runs several biodiesel refineries worldwide. Bayer CropScience, Monheim, plans to develop and register herbicides, soil insecticides and fungicides for disease and pest control of Jatropha plants.

Daimler AG, Stuttgart, Germany, has completed a five-year research project that demonstrated Jatropha may be used and cultivated to obtain biodiesel. Daimler will continue to explore the interactions between fuel and engine with Jatropha biodiesel and mixtures of it and other fuels.

"By diversifying the world’s energy supplies, we increase global energy security and create for many nations the ability to produce fuel from local sources," said Dr. Peter Reimers, general manager, European Oleo Chemicals, for ADM.

Jatropha (Jatropha curcas L.), is a wild plant from the Euphorbia family. Its seeds contain more than 30% oil. Studies have shown it may be cultivated in South America, Africa and Asia.

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