Evogene Ltd. is establishing Evofuel, a wholly owned subsidiary, to focus on developing seed for advanced second-generation feedstock for biofuel.
Included in the activities that are being transferred from the parent company to Evofuel is the development and commercialization of castor bean varieties for Brazil as well as the biofuel research and development activities located in Israel.
World production of biodiesel has been substantially increasing in the past years, reaching over 20 billion liters in 2010, however feedstock supply falls short of meeting the required demand and industry economic and sustainability needs. In addition to being the limiting factor for future growth, feedstock, which currently relies mainly on edible oils, such as soybean and canola, currently constitutes approximately 80% of biodiesel production costs.
Evogene's biofuel activity, initiated in 2007, targets the development of second generation feedstock to serve as a sustainable, viable and cost efficient source of oil for the growing biodiesel industry. In addition to its activity for development and of advanced castor bean seed, Evofuel intends to broaden its activity to additional potential feedstocks for the biodiesel, biojet and bioethanol markets.
"With the biofuel industry's continued growth and tremendous demand for cost competitive feedstock, there is a strong and immediate need for a solution based on designated second generation seed products. The establishment of Evofuel as a separate company, strongly positions it to address this substantial un-met need," stated Ofer Haviv, Evogene's President and CEO. "We are reinforced by the progress and results of our castor seed in Brazil and believe that access to Evogene's leading plant genomics capabilities will provide Evofuel with commercial advantages and opportunities in relevant markets."
Evogene recently announced successful completion of field trials for its advanced castor varieties in Brazil in cooperation with SLC Agricola, a leading agribusiness in Brazil. Based on results obtained demonstrating improved yield potential and performance under rain-fed conditions in northeast Brazil, the companies expanded their activity in order to accelerate development of best performing varieties and agronomical practices suitable for commercial scale production.