Cutting aviation costs with Jatropha oil

Jatropha curcas, a poisonous, semi-evergreen shrub that can grow as high as 20 feet, produces seeds laden with oil that backers say is an ideal biofuel. One company that maintains 194,000 acres of the plant under cultivation in India is looking to expand farming, and fuel production, in the United States.

Mission NewEnergy, an Australian-based firm with operations in India and Europe and a recently opened branch in San Antonio, says it can deliver refined Jatropha oil at about $40 to $50 a barrel. The firm’s U.S. entry also included listing its shares on Nasdaq, complementing its Australian Stock Exchange presence.

Mixed with traditional jet fuel, Jatropha oil already has been used on test flights by Continental Airlines, Air New Zealand and other carriers. Once approved for general use, Jatropha could help cut one of the aviation industry’s highest costs.


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