Singapore testing GM Jatropha for biofuel

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In a world racing to find alternative energy sources to feed an energy hungry world, scientists in Singapore plan to develop and test the world’s first genetically modified Jatropha plant. The GM Jatropha is expected to produce up to 10 percent more oil than ordinary seeds.

Field trials and commercialization are anticipated to start within the next three years. Research has discovered that biofuel produced from this GM Jatropha is more combustible and environmentally friendly because it emits fewer oxides.

Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory and JOil developed the new GM Jatropha and have filed a patent for this version.

“If you look at the biodiesel market, the world consumes about 1.2 billion tons of diesel and we expect about five percent to be replaced by Jatropha within the next 10 years,” said Sriram Srinivasan, chief financial officer of JOil. “That brings the total quantity to about 16 million tons.”

The low cost of Jatropha oil may help swing the economics in its favor despite analysts remaining unsure of its commercialization. Jatropha biodiesel is expected to fulfill demand in the aviation, shipping and power industries as global demand for energy increases.

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