Tham Bunhak, 57, operates a small-scale electricity supply business providing power to households in Battrang commune, Mongul Borey district, Banteay Meanchey province.
He said the high price of diesel forced him to convert to growing jatropha curcas to produce oil for his own generators.
“I have grown jatropha curcas on six hectares of land since early 2007,” he said.
“I extract about 1,000 liters of jatropha oil to supply my generators each month, which generates between 1,000 to 1,200 kilowatt hours a month. I supply roughly 83 households in my commune with electricity.”
Bunhak said when he started producing jatropha oil a liter of diesel cost 3,200 riels (80 cents). “I set the power price at 2,800 riel per kilowatt hour. Now normal diesel costs 4,800 riels but I still charge the same price for my electricity,” he said.
Bunhak was also said jatropha oil was a much cleaner buring fuel in his generator than regular diesel.