Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kingdom’s biodiesel plans on hold as jatropha disappears

Kingdom’s biodiesel plans on hold as jatropha disappears

Kingdom’s biodiesel plans on hold as jatropha disappears

NTC Jacam Energy has halted plans to produce biodiesel because of a lack of raw materials, particularly jatropha, according to the firm’s chairman.

The firm had planned to more than triple its production to 2,000 litres of biodiesel per day earlier this year, but a lack of jatropha on the local marketplace had forced the company to stop, Chheuy Sophors said.

“We suspended our biofuel production due to a lack of raw materials. Some

farmers who used to grow this crop have stopped,” he said.

The firm had invested US$400,000 to build the biodiesel plant in Kampong Speu province.

It had previously purchased jatropha seeds from farmers in Kampong Speu, Battambang, and Banteay Meanchey provices at a processing cost of between 600 and 800 riel per kilogram.

Jatropha is a quick-growing tropical plant. Its seeds can be crushed to process biodiesel, which could fetch some 3,200 riel per litre, the firm said.

NTC Jacam Energy had recently spent $50,000 to grow jatropha on 500 hectares in Kampong Speu and Koh Kong province, which could provide the future materials required for production, according to Chheuy Sophors.

“We hope the company will receive about 3,000 tonnes of seeds per year with this project so we can produce biofuel in the future,” he said.

Producing 1 kilogram of biodiesel required three times the amount of unprocessed jatropha seed, he said. It would require 6 tonnes of seed per day to meet its original production goal of 2,000 litres.

Chhe Pich, deputy chief of Kampong Speu Provincial Office of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery said yesterday farmers in Aural and Samraong districts had formerly grown plenty of jatropha, but poor yields had forced many to change to other crops. A United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation report issued earlier this year claimed the crop has the potential to produce a large amount of energy, compared to the area required to grow it.

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,