Bean fuel plant planned for Attleborough
A new enterprise producing 'green' biodiesel fuel from jatropha beans could be up and running near Attleborough by the end of the year. The new venture is planned by local businessmen Mark Jaggard and Simon Robinson, who have been researching the project for over a year.
A new enterprise producing 'green' biodiesel fuel from jatropha beans could be up and running near Attleborough by the end of the year.
The new venture is planned by local businessmen Mark Jaggard and Simon Robinson, who have been researching the project for over a year.
They have submitted plans for a change of use to an existing industrial unit at the Rookery Business Park, Besthorpe, which they intend to convert for the purpose. Its current use is for the storage of farm equipment.
If all goes well, they hope to be supplying transport companies with top quality biodiesel for between 90p and 95p a litre.
“Jatropha has an extremely high oil content and tends to come from third world countries which don't have much rainfall, where it thrives. The plants need very little looking after but the oil itself is inedible. But it will run diesel engines and is the only bio fuel where you don't have to modify the engine whatever,” Mr Robinson explained.
“It mixes with normal diesel, so there is no reason for people not to try it, and in the long run you are going to save about 15 per cent on the price of mineral diesel.”
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Both men come from Cawston and are self-employed.
“We have our own separate businesses and have known each other for 20 years. We throw crazy ideas at each other and this one seems to have stuck,” added Mr Robinson, who said their research indicates the venture would be viable and that the “figures stack up”.
They have already lined up four potential suppliers of jatropha in the UK, Spain, Malaysia and China. And if the business takes off, they are already looking at the possibility of expanding operations at the Besthorpe site.
“We are going to aim at the top, and meet the European standards for mineral diesel. To start with there would just be myself, Mark and one other member of staff. Hopefully we will take on another unit and employ another two people,” Mr Robinson said.
Breckland Council will be consulting on the application, which has just been submitted, and will be determined by the authority's development control committee in due course.
Jatropha fact file
The jatropha curcas tree is a drought-resistant inedible oilseed plant used to produce biodiesel.
It has many advantages over other bio fuel crops as it requires less water than most plants, is hardy, and does not need to be grown on good quality agricultural land.
BP and D1 Oils last year unveiled plans to jointly produce about two million tonnes of jatropha oil annually from plantations in India, South Africa, South East Asia and South America.