Power Seed

July 11, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is seeking Indian support to develop bio-diesel plants in the island’s Puttalam region, north of the capital Colombo, a senior public estate management ministry official says. The bio-diesel project, which is to be launched in mid-July, will use the Jatropha plant (endaru), Merinus Fernando, advisor to the ministry says.

“We will get Jatropha seeds from India and we have ear-marked a 5,000 acre area in Puttalam to grow the plant.”

The ministry also hopes to get private assistance by allowing farmers to grow Jatropha as a domestic crop and buy back seeds.

The plant grows on infertile, marginal land with minimal care.

It has a very high oil extracting capability and produces seeds with an oil content of 37 percent. The oil can be combusted as fuel without being refined.

“A unit of bio diesel energy can be sold for around 25 rupees,” Fernando says.

The plant also grows quickly and lives producing seeds for about 50 years.

Fernando says equipment for bio-diesel manufacture can be bought for as little as 2.2 million Indian rupees (6.3 million Sri Lankan rupees).

Equipment and technical expertise will be acquired from India which has perf