RNS Number : 4115U
D1 Oils Plc
14 May 2008
14 May 2008
D1 Oils to Trial Jatropha Production on Poor Soils in Indonesia
D1 Oils (D1), the biofuels technology company, is to carry out trials in Indonesia to assess the cultivation potential of Jatropha curcas, D1's principal biodiesel crop, in poor soil conditions on the island of Sumatra. The trials will be carried out in co-operation with University of Bengkulu (UNIB) in South West Sumatra, and will test the performance of jatropha in 'ultisol' soil types, which are common in Indonesia. These acidic soils, which are deficient in plant nutrients, cannot generally be used for sedentary agriculture without the aid of lime and other fertilisers and are easily exhausted. Jatropha curcas is well adapted to poor quality soils, but it is expected that better oil yields can be obtained with application of a balanced mixture of fertilisers to support plant growth. The trials with UNIB will compare growth and yield of Jatropha curcas under different schemes of fertiliser application to determine the optimum level of fertilisers for the best plant growth and yield.
The Indonesian trials are the latest in a series of strategic research and development partnerships that D1 is developing worldwide with the objective of gathering data to improve the cultivation and productivity of jatropha and other alternative biofuels crops in different regions, climates and soil conditions. D1's global research network already includes agreements with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) for research into Jatropha curcas in Andhra Pradesh in India, and with Katetsart University in Thailand to evaluate the growth and yield of Chinese cabbage, tomato and sweet potato when using Jatropha curcas seedcake as a fertiliser. It is expected that the relationship with UNIB will be expanded to cover other areas of co-operation in jatropha cultivation.
Commenting on the UNIB agreement, Dr Henk Joos, Director of D1's plant science programme, said:
'Jatropha can be grown on a wide range of soil types, including marginal land, and grows in drier areas than other food oil crops. We expect Indonesia to be a key area for Jatropha curcas cultivation, particularly in Sumatra and parts of Java where agricultural production is limited by low levels of soil nutrients. Our co-operation with UNIB will enable us to explore further jatropha's potential as a crop that Indonesian farmers can grow on poorer soils and get commercial yields without heavy applications of expensive fertilisers.'
Eko Suprojono, Head of the Department of Agriculture Production of UNIB, said:
'We are very pleased to be partnering with D1 in agronomy research on Jatropha curcas. This new crop has immense potential for supplying the raw material for production of biodiesel to meet Indonesia's fuel requirements. Although it is available widely across the country of Indonesia, there has been no systematic study on the yield and oil content in the seeds under different environmental conditions. We expect this collaboration with D1 to enable us to have a better understanding in the crop production.'
Graham Prince, Head of Corporate Communications
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Notes to Editors:
D1 Oils plc is a biofuels technology company. Our strategy is to develop new energy crops into sustainable commercial fuels. We provide technology and services for the breeding, development, planting and harvesting of new varieties of commercial biofuel crops, focusing on alternative, sustainable feedstocks that are not subject to the same price pressures as food-grade crops. We have an established plant science and planting programme for Jatropha curcas, a robust, tropical oilseed bearing tree. Jatropha produces inedible oil feedstock for biodiesel and is able to make use of land not suitable for arable agriculture. D1 has a 50:50 joint venture with BP for the global planting of jatropha.
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