Biofuel production plant. (Photo: Oil Fox)
Argentinean multinational firm considers biodiesel plant installation
Thursday, October 11, 2012, 16:20 (GMT + 9)
The company Oil Fox, based in Argentina, is considering installing its first biodiesel production plant using castor oil and algae in Colombia.
The Argentina multinational plant, which is already present in four Latin American countries, is considering building the firm in Huila so as to produce environmentally friendly fuels that are compatible with food production.
In this regard, Jorge Kaloustian, Oil Fox representative, said that the construction of the plant in Huila would be developed with the support of the universities Universidad Cooperativa and Corhuila and of Public Enterprises of Neiva.
"We have been making biodiesel in Argentina since 1997. In 1999 we began a test project with 1,000 hectares of wild castor to produce biofuel, since this crop does not compete with food production and is planted in dry places," said the entrepreneur to the local newspaper La Nación.
“At the same time, in 2000 we started growing algae in greenhouses, which we have also used for producing biodiesel and for manufacturing what is known as 'the food of the future', which is spirulina, a project that we are analysing in order to develop it in Colombia," the executive added.
Currently, Oil Fox operates in Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay and the United States. In Colombia, the idea is to install a plant to produce 500 million litres of biodiesel a year based on castor and algae, with an investment that would exceed USD 150 million.
The Colombian project development involves arranging an alliance with the local firm Lobby Internacional.
"If we decide that the project is developed in Huila, the investments would start in December and initially, we would focus on buying land for growing castor," he explained.
"On the other hand, we would have to build greenhouses for growing algae to build an oil firm for press extraction of castor oil that is transformed into biodiesel, as well as an oil plant to extract the oil and a harvesting plant for algae."
Furthermore, it will be necessary to mount a biofuel plant.
Kaloustian stressed that the oil extracted from algae is considered an attractive alternative to other vegetable oils, since it does not require the use of land. Moreover, oil extraction process also produces protein-rich dough, which is edible.
By Analia Murias