U.K. biodiesel producer D1 Oils is gearing up to supply local oil companies with the biodiesel they will need to meet mandatory a B5 biodiesel blend target coming into effect next year. D1 has pursued a strategy of using jatropha curcas oil as their primary feedstock by establishing large jatropha plantations in a variety of countries including India, Zambia, Swaziland, Indonesia and China. While waiting for adequate jatropha feedstock supplies to come online, D1 are using soy bean oil in their ramp-up of biodiesel production to a planned 320,000 tonnes in 2008.

D1 has a contract in place to supply petroleum distributor Petroplus with biodiesel for blending purposes which will become mandatory under the U.K.'s Renewable Fuel Transport Obligation (RTFO) that goes live in in April 2008. D1's jatropha plantations are to be doubled in size from 145,000 hectares to nearly 300,000 hectares over the next year to meet the demand.

Analysis: I visited D1's facility in Teesside, northern England last year to learn about their operation and plans to expand their jatropha oil production. Jatropha is a smart play by D1 although they are currently hurting through the early years while the first plants grow sufficiently to harvest. If they manage their plantations well they should have a steady supply of a high quality and very cheap biodiesel feedstock.

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[Source: icNewcastle.co.uk]

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