Even with all of the corporate focus on plug-in, hybrid and fuel cell vehicles (examples here, here and here), Daimler is not forgetting about good old biofuels. In fact, the company is working with two German groups (the Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH and Bayer CropScience AG) to help farmers in India grow jathropa on previously unprofitable wasteland in order to make biodiesel.
The project is starting small, with just 250 acres worth of seedlings planted so far, but Daimler says it will be investing in the communities that grow the crop for the next five years. After the crops are harvested in four years, Daimler will offer a purchase guarantee for the seeds, so the loans the farmers are taking out now will be able to be repaid even if the crops fail. Daimler has been working with Bayer since at least early 2008 on growing jathropa for biodiesel. Following a five-year research project, Daimler concluded in 2007 "that jatropha is suitable for the production of high-quality biodiesel." So, onward.