Marubeni plans biodiesel project in Brazil

Japan's Marubeni Corp. and Dutch grain trader Agrenco Group jointly plan to start producing biodiesel fuel from soybean oil produced in Brazil beginning in 2008.

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 26 -- Japan's Marubeni Corp. and Dutch grain trader Agrenco Group jointly plan to start producing biodiesel fuel from soybean oil produced in Brazil beginning in 2008.

In a bid to tap growing demand amid heightened concerns over global warming, the joint venture partners—Agrenco 66.7% and Marubeni 33.3%—plan to produce 400,000 tonnes/year of the alternative fuel.

The venture, Agrenco Energia, expects to construct two mills for extracting oil from soybeans and three additional facilities to process the soybean oil into biofuel.

The bioenergy complexes are designed to produce pure B100 biodiesel, which the firms said can be used "in any vehicle without adaptation."

Agrenco Group Chief Executive Officer Antonio Iafelice said the JV will produce biodiesel "in compliance with European, American, and Japanese regulations, in order to meet potential consumers' needs."

The biofuel, to be produced in compliance with European Community EN 14424 regulation, will first be sold in Brazil, which will require diesel fuel to contain 2% biodiesel starting in fiscal 2008.

Under a 10-year supply agreement signed by the two companies in 2005, Marubeni has priority sales rights for Agrenco's products, including biodiesel, from South America to Japan and other Asian markets except China.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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