November 11, 2007 (Hindu Business Line) – The UK-based global biodiesel producer D1 Oils plc — the world’s largest commercial jatropha cultivator — is targeting around 3.5 lakh hectares of jatropha plantations across India during the next four years, besides plans to invest in the setting up of downstream extraction units and necessary supply chain services in the country.
British Petroleum pact
The company, which recently entered into a partnership with British Petroleum, expects to start producing up to 1,000 tonnes of crude jatropha oil in the country by as early as next year, the CEO of D1 Oils India Pvt Ltd, Mr Samiran Das, told Business Line.
The crude production in the country is expected to be ramped up in the following years, he added.
India among top 3 “India would definitely be among the top three countries for D1 in terms of jatropha plantations going forward,” he said.
Globally, D1 Oils plans to cultivate one million hectares of jatropha, spread across mainly India, Southern Africa, South East Asia, China and Australia, by the year 2011.
As on date, D1 Oils’ plantations in India have crossed 89,000 hectares and the company plans to increase this to one lakh hectares by the end of the current planting season, he said.
D1 India is currently cultivating jatropha in Nagaland, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and has joint ventures with tea firm, Williamson Magor, in the North-East and liquor company, Mohan Breweries, in the South to process and market bio-diesel from jatropha oilseeds produced by the farmers.
“We are looking at other joint ventures and are in talks with players, though nothing has been firmed up so far,” he said.
downstream extraction units The company, according to Mr Das, plans to set-up downstream extraction units and refineries over the next couple of years in India.
The company’s first extraction unit is expected to come up in South India, along with the requisite supply chain and network of downstream services.
D1 Oils recently set up a 50:50 joint venture company with British Petroleum and transferred its plantation activities to the joint venture, D1-BP Fuel Crops Ltd.
India has been encouraging the use of jatropha, a shrub which has no applications in the food sector and can be grown on arid wastelands, in biodiesel production.
The Centre has initiated a project for petroleum companies to blend conventional diesel with up to five per cent of biodiesel, even though it is yet to be made mandatory as in the case of ethanol, where a mandatory five per cent blend has been introduced.
The price at which petroleum companies will buy biodiesel from producers has been fixed at Rs 25 per litre.