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Namibia: castor beans for biofuels

Israel's Evogene, Ormat Industries and the Leviev Group of Companies said on Wednesday they will set up a joint venture to grow castor beans in Namibia for the production of biodiesel.
Geothermal energy producer Ormat, through its US subsidiary Orfuel Inc, has been collaborating with Evogene since 2007 on growing non-edible plants on non-arable land for biodiesel production.

The new joint venture with Leviev will examine different varieties of castor beans to find the most suitable for commercial growth in Namibia.

Castor beans are rich in oil and the cost of producing biodiesel fuel from them is expected to be far less than the cost of production from crops used for food such as soybeans, the companies said.

The Leviev Group, owned by billionaire diamond dealer Lev Leviev, has access to land and infrastructure in Namibia, where it mines for and polishes diamonds.

The joint venture may sell the seeds to growers or grow the castor beans on its own but it will not produce the biodiesel fuel, a spokeswoman said.

Additional information: Read the full story at EngineeringNews
News date: 11/09/2008

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