According to the Chairman of Taleveras Group, Igho Sanomi, the African oil trading company is making its first moves into renewable energy by setting up a joint venture to build a biorefinery in the U.S. with Global Green Development Group, Bloomberg reports.
The plan is to set up farming collectives in Africa to grow jatropha, an inedible plant whose seeds can be turned into a fuel, and refine it in Mississippi to be sold in the U.S. market, according Sanomi. The first phase of the program is expected to cost $400 million to $600 million, with an annual production of 70 million gallons. It’s expected to begin operating in two to three years.
Taleveras is planning to set up farms in Nigeria and other African countries to cultivate the jatropha plant. It’s looking for a minimum of 15,000 hectares of land. The company is in discussions with state governors in Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana, South Africa and Ethiopia. It’s expecting to create about 10,000 jobs.
Once the plant’s seeds are refined into a biofuel, Sanomi and partners are seeking to supply the U.S. military with a product that can be blended with jet fuel. “It’s going to start with military aircraft as a test project. Eventually the goal is to get into commercial aviation, have people building engines around this,’’ Sanomi said.