SG Biofuels has launched business operations in Brazil and appointed local entrepreneur and genomics innovator Fernando Reinach as its senior adviser for the country.
The company is focused on creating new strains of the oil-yielding shrub jatropha through selective breeding and biotechnology.
Reinach will provide strategic planning, business development and executive management support for the company’s new subsidiary, based in Sao Paulo.
‘SG Biofuels’ breeding and biotechnology platform is the right approach to develop jatropha as a viable feedstock for biofuels in Brazil,’ said Reinach.
‘By improving yields through genomics and regional adaptation, I believe there is a large opportunity to complement Brazil’s global leadership in sugar cane and ethanol with a successful jatropha industry.’
Until recently, Reinach was a partner in Votorantim Ventures, a venture capital fund set up by Brazilian conglomerate Votorantim Group, and he sits on the board of synthetic biology pioneers Amyris.
He also co-founded Genomic Engenharia Molecular, one of the first Brazilian companies to perform DNA and paternity tests and one of the country’s largest DNA testing companies.
SG Biofuels is collaborating with a number of partners to develop jatropha, including oilseed processor Bunge, refining and petrochemical company Flint Hills Resources, and biotechnology tools company.
Jatropha has the potential to yield 1,300 litres of oil per hectare, according to India’s Planning Commission. That is slightly more than rapeseed, twice as much as sunflowers and three times as much as soya beans.
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