The New York Times this morning, December 25, features a long, positive story on a San Diego startup company, SGB (seeds, genetics, biofuels), which is growing a plant named jatropha. The seeds of the Jatropha curcas plant contain between 27 and 40 percent oil — high-quality oil that can be refined into low-carbon jet fuel or diesel fuel.
Jatropha was hailed as the next advance in biofuels six years ago, but then the recession and collapse of funding mechanisms, along with problems with the plant, delayed its introduction. Now, says the Times, "Thanks to advances in molecular genetics and DNA sequencing technology, the San Diego startup has, in a few years, succeeding in domesticating jatropha, a process that once took decades."
SGB now says it can produce biofuels in quantities that it says are competitive with petroleums priced at $99 a barrel. "Oil is around $100 a barrel," says the Times. The successful breed is being called Jatropha 2.
President and chief executive officer is Kirk Haney. Board chairman is Jerry Caulder, managing director of Finistere Ventures, a San Diego venture-capital firm. In 1984 he became chairman and chief executive of Mycogen, which went public and later was acquired by Dow Agrosciences.