New company will use seed to create biodiesel


A newly formed San Diego-based company will exploit the seed of a shrub native to Central America to create a low-cost, sustainable source of biodiesel, its chief executive announced Monday.

SG Biofuels will use the seeds of the jatropha plant, which contain high amounts of oil, to create biodiesel and feedstock substitutes for the petrochemical and aviation fuel industries.

The plant can be grown on abandoned lands that are unsuitable for other crops, according to the company.

Kirk Haney, chief executive officer of SG Biofuels, announced the company’s creation at the 2009 National Biodiesel Conference and Expo in San Francisco.

“We’re turning the opportunities of jatropha into reality with a world-class team of scientists and geneticists, deep resources and expertise in Latin American agribusiness and a commitment to sustainable production,’’ Haney said.

Japan Airlines recently successfully tested a flight of a Boeing 747-300 run on a biofuel made from a mixture of camelina, jatropha and algae, according to SG Biofuels.