Evogene Ltd. (TASE:EVGN) has expanded its biofuel collaboration agreement with Brazilian agribusiness SLC Agricola.
The companies will expand development of castor bean seeds as a cost competitive feedstock for biofuels. The companies said that the expansion follows successful completion of field trials for such varieties in northeast Brazil during 2011.
The collaboration between Evogene and SLC Agricola began in 2010, and is focused on developing advanced castor seed displaying high oil yield under rain-fed conditions and suitable for sustainable and commercial production in Brazil.
The companies reported that in recently completed field trials, proprietary castor varieties developed by Evogene demonstrated improved yield potential and performance compared to existing cultivars.
Under the expanded agreement, the companies will continue to collaborate on evaluating Evogene's castor varieties in SLC's farms in northeast Brazil to determine the best performing varieties and agronomic practices suitable for commercial scale production.
Evogene EVP Strategy & Business Development Assaf Oron said, "We are excited with the results achieved and look forward to continuing our joint efforts with SLC Agricola, one of the leading soybean and cotton producers in Brazil. Combining Evogene's world leading capabilities for crop improvement with SLC's agricultural production systems is expected to strongly position our castor varieties as a sustainable and economically viable feedstock solution for the growing biodiesel and biojet markets. And, with Brazil's leadership and long term commitment to biofuel as well as its well established agriculture industry, there is a substantial opportunity for large scale commercial production of castor in Brazil."
Evogene's castor varieties are targeted at being highly competitive with currently available feedstock for biodiesel, enabling oil production at a cost equivalent to approximately $50 per barrel, compared to much higher costs based on production from existing food crops, such as soybean and canola oils. Furthermore, biodiesel produced from the Evogene's castor varieties is expected to substantially reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by over 75%.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 14, 2011
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