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Earth Gen-BioFuel promotes use of castor bean oil as a biofuel feedstock

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Earth Gen-BioFuel is taking a leadership role to support the company's expansion plans and to promote the use of castor bean oil in the manufacture of biodiesel. EarthGen is planning to sponsor two international castor bean industry symposiums. The first symposium will be in the United States and the second is planned for Southeast Asia.

George Shen, President, commented, "EarthGen believes that the best way to expand the market for castor beans beyond the US$2.5 billion of castor beans used in chemical manufacturing is to accelerate the use of castor bean oil as a clean transportation fuel. It is time to stop using food grade seed oils as fuel at a time when high quality cooking oil is in short supply in many countries."

EarthGen plans to expand its own castor bean farming beyond its Laos operation to develop and diversify its growing locations and harvesting dates. In addition to working with the Singapore based consulting group Gionesis, the company has been working with farm operations in Vietnam, Cambodia, Peru and Mexico. Other counties that are of interest are Indonesia and Colombia. Based on the potential growth in uses of castor beans, EarthGen is planning a series of 2500 acre farms in these additional countries. Each farm when fully planted will have the potential to produce about US$3 million in castor bean sales per year. Castor plants have a productive life of 5 to 7 years and should produce a repeating annual revenue stream, which can be used for additional planting and further expansion of operations.

The US has been using about US$8 billion of soybean oil as a biofuel feed stock or about four times the world production of castor beans. Castor beans are a better biodiesel feed stock because castor beans have an oil content of 50% and a relatively high crop yield of 1695 pounds per acre, which means that castor beans can supply up to 141 gallons of castor oil per acre. That compares to 50 to 60 gallons oil per acre for soybeans.

Currently the use of castor oil in manufacturing biodiesel is still very limited. However, we believe that this market segment has significant growth potential. The driving forces for the growth of biodiesel in general is the projected long term rising cost of fuel and environmental concerns, both driving the use of cleaner fuels and the fact that newly manufactured trucks and farm equipment in the US do not require modification of their engines in order to utilise Clean Fuel B20 (20% vegetable oil and 80% petroleum diesel) and in some cases 100% processed vegetable oil.

Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling

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