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Oil & Gas

New biodiesel company planned in Africa

September 11, 2008
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The Market Wire reports that Biofuel Namibia Ltd. of the Leviev Group and Evogene Ltd. together with Orfuel Inc., a U.S. subsidiary of Ormat Industries Ltd., have signed an agreement to establish a new company focused on the growth of specialized castor plants for use as feedstock for biodiesel. The new company will be headquartered in Namibia, with operations in Namibia and possibly other locations in Africa. According to the terms of the agreement, the new company will examine various castor varieties in field tests in Namibia, and following the selection of best performing varieties, they will work to commercialize and grow the selected varieties on a commercial scale in Namibia, and possibly in other locations in Africa. Evogene will provide the new company with the castor varieties for evaluation, and will utilize its knowledge and capabilities in plant growth. The Leviev Group will provide access to lands for crop growth in Namibia and logistical infrastructure for the project. The castor varieties to be supplied by Evogene will be selected from varieties being developed in a previously announced collaboration between Evogene and Orfuel. Under this collaboration, which has received a grant from the BIRD Foundation, Evogene and Orfuel are jointly developing non edible plants, such as castor, for biodiesel commercial production. A special focus of this collaboration is that these plants can be grown commercially in non arable areas. Castor is a high oil yielding crop and there are vast non arable lands available in Namibia that potentially could be used for this purpose. Thus it is anticipated that the cost of biodiesel feedstock produced using specialized castor crops grown in Namibia is expected to be significantly lower than cost of biodiesel produced from crops currently used for this purpose, such as soybean and canola.

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