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Myanmar Biofuel Project Using Jatropha Oil

Jatropha is a kind of tropical deciduous shrub tree. Oil content of jatropha seeds is very high, ranging from 30 to 35 %, five times that of soybeans, three times that of rapeseeds. Therefore jatropha seeds are an ideal raw material for production of biodiesel fuel. A planted jatropha tree can yield 0.8 liter of biofuel and absorb 8 kg of CO2 annually.

In 2004 Daimler-Benz AG as well as BP plc. respectively conducted running tests of real cars on jatropha oil under various conditions including sub-zero temperature. These tests proved that jatropha-refined-oil could be used as substitute diesel fuel. From FY2007 Boeing Co. started test flights with jatropha oil as jet fuel. Since the end of FY2008, major world airlines companies followed Boeing, and they also have made successful test flights, using different substitute biofuels derived from inedible biomass materials including jatropha.

Myanmar is the largest jatropha-growing country that produces 90 % of jatropha in the world. The Myanmar government promotes plantation of jatropha as a national project. The cultivated acreage of jatropha in Myanmar was 635,000 ha in FY2006, 1,478,000 ha in FY2007, 2,000,000 ha in FY2008 (from April to December), and the government designates the acreage to be expanded to 3,200,000 ha in FY2010.

Taking notice of abundant jatropha as a useful biomass, on February 27, 2009, Japan Bio Energy Development Co. Ltd. announced to the press that it would start a biofuel production project using abundant jatropha, by establishing a joint corporation with a general trading firm of Myanmar. The company plans to sell jatropha seeds, as much as 5,000 ton a year as a present target, as well as jatropha-derived biofuels including export, during FY2009.

Cultivated Jatropha-Acreage of Myanmar (April to December for FY2008)


(cf. Chemical Daily, website of Japan Bio Energy Development Co. etc.)

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