New California Center to Focus on Jatropha Biodiesel

John Davis

A new center in California will focus on turning jatropha into biodiesel.

Global Clean Energy Holdings has established a new non-profit research organization called the Center for Sustainable Energy Farming:

Research at the Center will be focused on increasing agricultural production; creating a sustainable feedstock supply; reducing inputs including the use of fossil fuel, pesticides, water and fertilizer, and developing new and sustainable biofuels. In furtherance of the P3 (People, Planet, & Profit) concept, the Center’s work will strive to improve the quality of life of the farming communities, and preserve and renew the environment through the application of plant
science and biotechnology, while generating sustainable profits for the farmers and other stakeholders.

Dr. Mark Guiltinan, Professor of Plant Molecular Biology and Director of the Plant Science Center at the Huck Institute of Life Sciences at The Pennsylvania State University, will serve as the Center’s Chief Scientific Officer. “It is our vision that this Center will help facilitate the development of industry and scientific partnerships, and provide a common research platform from which a new generation of sustainable biofuels can be produced,” Guiltinan remarked.

“To develop truly sustainable biofuel feedstock production systems, it will take the coordinated efforts of scientists with expertise in a wide array of interdisciplinary fields such as plant genetics and breeding, entomology, soil sciences, agronomy, plant pathology, environmental and social sciences as well as agricultural technologies.” Initially, the Center will focus on Jatropha curcas as a feedstock species for the development of the model bioenergy farms of the future. “Jatropha is of particular interest for its high quality oil and suitability for production of renewable fuels, and it holds a tremendous potential for future improvements,” said Dr. Guiltinan. “This could be one of the first crops domesticated and improved using the techniques and tools of modern genomics.”

The center hopes to triple jatropha yields in the next 10 years, while reducing the amount of inputs to grow it.