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March 2009 news item

Reliance Life Sciences (RLS) announced plans to build crushing and extraction facilities to produce more than one lakh metric tons (100,000 metric tons, or 110,231 tons) of biofuels a year.

RLS currently produces 6,500 MT of biodiesel per year at a pilot project at Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh from non-edible crops. It is testing ways to improve crop yields, including intercropping jatropha and pongamia with food crops.

The new facility is expected to require an investment of Rs 150 to Rs 200 crore. RLS would need feedstock from about 100,000 hectares (247,000 acres) of land for the plant.

RLS is in talks with farmers for the feedstock; in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh. RLS pays about Rs 5 ($0.10) per kilogram of yield.

RLS is also developing composite varieties of jatropha though metabolic engineering to improve yields of the non-edible shrub.