US-based SG Biofuels (SGB) has signed agreements with the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) to develop Jatropha as an alternative energy crop.

The company has also concluded a similar agreement with bio-diesel refiner Fiagril.

SGB will combine its breeding and genomics platform, which includes a library of Jatropha genetic material, with Embrapa’s advanced technologies to increase productivity of the crop.

The company’s agreement with Fiagril, meanwhile, envisages the establishment of a JMax Knowledge Center to develop hybrid varieties of the crop adapted to local conditions.

The JMax center will also establish best agronomic practices to enable successful commercial deployment of the crop.

SGB president and CEO Kirk Haney remarked that the agreements reinforce the market viability of the company’s Jatropha hybrids in Brazil while offering a strong platform to expand commercial production.

"We look forward to benefiting from Embrapa’s expertise in Brazilian agriculture as we deploy Jatropha projects for Fiagril and other customers," Haney added.

"Working in partnership with Fiagril, we look forward to deploying our elite Jatropha hybrids as a complementary crop to soybean in Mato Grosso and ultimately expanding the available feedstock supply for their biorefinery."

SGB had earlier deployed three JMax Knowledge Centers in Brazil, with one of them being a multi-stakeholder initiative involving JETBIO, Airbus, the Inter-American Development Bank, Bioventures Brasil, Air BP and TAM Airlines.