Castor cultivation for biodiesel production.

Biodiesel from castor is an emerging trend in Jamaica as it planned to use the oil seed crop to minimize its energy burden in a sustainable way.Petrojam Ethanol Limited(PEL) Chairman,Mr.Karl James stated that castor biodiesel is a potential renewable source, well suited to Jamaican conditions and can meet atleast 3% of the total consumption of 168 million gallons of diesel oil demand in the country.He further insisted that the initiative is to be implemented with caution and the formation of inter ministerial committee of Cabinet is mandatory to accelerate the program.Energy Minister, Philip Paulwell said that castor crop is well acclimatized to grow in any marginal region without competing with the principal crops.He also added that castor needs low maintainance and high oil content in beans  renders production effective.

It is vital to carefully select a castor breed and good agronomic practices for the implementation of the project with success.

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Mozambican firm plans to establish a Castor oil plant:

Mozambican newspaper Notícias reported that the firm, Miranda Caju has decided to install a Castor oil extraction plant worth US$3.5 million, with a production capacity of 6000 tonnes oil on an annual basis. This initiative was made after a mounting demand from the Cashew processors to use hydrogenated Castor oil for the shelling process in Cashew. They plan to cultivate the necessary castor in Meconta district that will provide only 12% of the raw material but the firm has already promoted the castor cultivation in the neighboring districts of Zambézia, Niassa and Cabo Delgado to satify the demands. The sources also informed that a part of the production will even be exported to other countries including South Africa and United States.

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Fall in the prices of castor seed

The price trend of castor seed finally saw a dip when the castor seed March contract fell to US$ 114.695 from the previous close of US$ 117.595 per unit quintal in profit booking at the Rajkot Commodity Exchange. A reduction in spot castor prices has also been witnessed at RCX when the day ended at US$ 115.662 from yesterday’s close of 125.822US$.The castor seed pricing showed a similar suppression in NCDEX as well when the prices fell down to US$120.715 and 115.684 for the February and March contracts respectively.

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Castor oil as source of biodiesel in Jamaica

An agreement worth US$ 10.3 million has been signed between Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica’s Centre of Excellence for Renewable Energy (PCJ’s CERE) and the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) to conduct research on Castor and Jatropha for the production of Biodiesel.The proposed research project is  for three years,  from February 2011 to January 2014 and involves an establishment of pilot scale plant to produce biodiesel from castor raised at CARDI and subject the biodiesel for transport oriented applications.The managing director at PCJ Mr:Nigel Logan has said that the partnership would enable the nation to regulate it’s demand for oil and also to explore the native renewable sources for energy production.He further added that optimistic results would guide them to implement the Castor oil biodiesel in transport sector.It is important to remember that Jamaica has already made blends of ethanol with classical fuel which is being sold at energy service stations.

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Castor bio-diesel to minimize greenhouse gas emission

Researchers from India have made bio-diesel from Castor oil by alkaline trans-esterification process and assessed it’s physio-chemical properties for locomotive engine based fuel applications.The experimentation with Castor bio-diesel showed promising results for the parameters studied and performed on par with the conventional diesel.They further claimed that by converting 10% of the total production of Castor oil to bio-diesel can minimize the global carbon-dioxide emissions by 79,782 tonnes per annum with zero carbon footprint.

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Castor biofuel a promising candidate for aviation services

Evogene Ltd, an US based agri-biotech company has announced that castor plant proves to be viable alternate source for the production of biofuel(referred to as biojet) for the aviation services in the future.In a colloborative project work with NASA and Honeywell’s UOP technology, Evogene has made an evaluation of biojet produced from its castor varieties and reports that the oil has satisfied the fuel specifications of  ASTM D7566.It has declared that improved analytical tests will be conducted by NASA and US Air Force Research Laboratory further and points that the fuel from Castor would reduce green house gas emissions by 90% in comparison to fossil fuels.In the Castor Development Programme, the firm has decided to sell its product at US$ 45/Barell in future.

Castor plant designed for biolubricant production in progress

Spanish scientists led by Federico García Maroto from the University of Almeria have reported that genes associated with bio synthesis of key fatty acids in Castor are identified whose products indirectly would serve as bio-lubricants for the locomotive engines.In addition, they have trapped some regulatory genetic elements referred to as “Promoters” that drive the expression of potent, fatty acid synthesizing genes for bio- lubricant production in Castor system.However, researchers conducted their preliminary experimental studies in model system,Tobacco and obtained promising results through a controlled expression of genes in Tobacco under the influence of their test promoters.They believe that the experiment would be feasible in Castor as well and say the overall objective of this collaborative research work is to generate a castor plant which would act as a bio factory for the synthesis of environmentally compatible, functionally effective lubricants.

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First Tetraploid Castor Plant from Israeli Firm, Kaiima

Scientists from an Israeli seed company,Kaiima have produced the world’s first tetraploid castor plant with the objective of improving multiple traits in diploid castor including oil content for biofuel production, photosynthetic efficiency and better adaption to local field conditions.Reports say that the firm has followed an unique biotechnological technique called “Clean Genome Manipulation”(CGM) to achieve chromosomal doubling instead of a routine colchicine treatment  which seems to be associated with induction of DNA lesions in plants where the genome is manipulated by exact multiples of the basic chromosome number.The producers further believe that the plant would revolutionize the biofuel production through increased yield after a successful evaluation of field trials.In addition, the castor plant produced is not a Genetically Modified Plant says the product manager of Kaiima, Ariel Krolzig.

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Hike in prices of castor seed and oil

Castor seed(Bold type) and oil prices in the market continue to remain high as a result of reduction in supply and a mounting demand from the oil and seed exporters.Seed prices jumped by Rs:100 to Rs:5700 from the previous day close of Rs:5600 while the commercial grade Castor oil surged slightly by Rs:20 from Rs:1150 to Rs:1170 per 10 kg.A volatility in the prices of Castor seed for the month of March was noticed.

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Castor seed’s market value declines further

The drop in castor seed prices still continues to make news in blog following the previous blog entry. Poor export enquiries is seen as the reason for the decline in future of castor seed in the oil and oilseeds market. Though castor seed price is on the decline, castor oil commercial and linseed oil traded stable in even in the absence of market moving factors.

Castorseed price declined Rs. 20 per tonne to Rs. 4375. Refined palmolein moved down slightly to Rs. 585. Groundnut oil held steady at Rs. 760 for 10 kg. Castorseed bold, castor oil commercial and linseed oil ended unchanged at Rs. 5,300, Rs. 1,090 and Rs. 710 respectively.