San Francisco Bay Area - based Eco-Fuel Global this week entered a groundbreaking agreement with the Government of Rwanda estimated to be worth in excess of $250 m; to produce bio-fuels from Jatropha Curcas.
By Ashwani Kumar
| November 24th 2009 04:22 PM | Print
San Francisco Bay Area - based Eco-Fuel Global this week entered a groundbreaking agreement with the Government of Rwanda estimated to be worth in excess of $250 m; to produce bio-fuels from Jatropha Curcas. In the run up to the Copenhagen climate talks, this deal will see the replacement of up to 20% of the Rwandan fossil fuel requirement with low emission bio-fuels.
Mark O'Brien, CEO of Eco-Fuel Global, said on behalf of the investors: "This marks the beginning of one of the largest sustainable Biofuel projects in the world. Rwanda is leading the world in a new generation of environmentally friendly and economically responsible energy production." This deal is part of a larger Sub-Sahara Africa bio-fuel strategy. The investors Eco-Fuel Global and its counterpart UK - based Eco Positive view this project as one of Rwanda's answers to the energy challenge. Some of the benefits of this groundbreaking project include:
•Increased fuel security and reduced price risk
•Direct employment estimated at 6,500 jobs
•Environmental benefits such as reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, soil stability and watershed protection
•Expanding U.S. exports through the use of U.S. - based Biofuel refinery equipment and technology
•Food security through production of fertilizer as a by-product of the Biofuel and the potential to increase agricultural yields with intercropping .
The signing ceremony held at the Rwanda Development Board (RIB) head office was witnessed by the former British Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Tony Blair, whose office supports this project. Signing on behalf of the government was the State Minister for Energy, Albert Butare, who said: "It is a significant step forward in giving our nation greater energy security; essential to our economic success." The RDB's CEO Joe Ritchie noted that the coming in of the two firms is a sign of Rwanda's potential as an investment friendly country and it also highlights the country development path that prioritizes the use of domestic resources to achieve its goals. The deal will see the two companies grow Jatropha Curcas on 10,000 hectares of marginal land near Akagera National Park, from which they will be extracting an estimated 20 million liters of bio-fuel annually.