Green fuel production a step closer
Leeds-based renewable fuels firm Viridas has said it is close to securing funding for a seedling plantation in Brazil.
The company aims to commercially produce oil from an inedible but highly-calorific plant which grows in the South American country called jatropha.
It is hoped that £5 million will fund a 250-hectare jatropha plantation and move the firm towards commercial biofuel production.
The funding is intended to help set up the base plantation, train 200 staff, buy 120 pieces of farm equipment such as tractors, obtain 26 million jatropha plants, and get the venture licensed and approved.
Jatropha can be used as fuel for motor vehicles, while the biomass can go towards generating electricity. A supply deal with chemicals giant Ineos has already been negotiated, while Viridas has also signed a management agreement with South American agricultural firm Cazenave.
Viridas intends that the plantation will provide seeds for the commercial development of a much larger 30,000-hectare (120 sq mile) plantation.
Executive chairman Stanley Wootliff said: "We have had indications that the second round of funding will be available. We have every reason to believe we would have these funds by autumn this year."
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