A British company is helping one of the world’s biggest oil producers to develop renewable biodiesel.
To do so, D1 Oils has formed a 50/50 joint venture – D1 Oils Arabia – with the Saudi-based Jazeera For Modern Technology that will manage the plantation of jatropha trees which D1 Oils will then use as feedstock to produce renewable biodiesel.
D1 Oils Arabia will also install refineries in Saudi Arabia and expand the D1 Oils brand throughout Saudi Arabia and into other Gulf area countries.
Jazeera will contribute 5000 hectares of desert land to be owned by the joint venture for a pilot plantation, with access to an additional 100,000 hectares on successful completion. As jatropha is a non-edible crop, D1 Oils will irrigate the plantations with waste water that otherwise would have been difficult to dispose of.
The commissioning of the first D1 20 refinery in Saudi Arabia is expected as soon as the plantations come on stream, which is projected to be in the second half of 2006. More refineries will be necessary as the jatropha production increases.
D1 Oils currently has plantation rights to 37,000 hectares of land in Africa, India and the Philipines, with options on a further 6m hectares in Africa and India. It is estimated that each hectare can produce 3,000 litres of biodiesel each year.