Italian gas and oil company ENI has launched a pilot project in the city of Gafsa, Tunisia to grow castor oil plants and use the oil as a biofuel feedstock.
The project would cultivate the castor oil plants in semi-arid areas and the oil extracted from the plant’s fruit would be used to fuel ENI’s biorefineries, ANSAmed reported on 16 January.
Experimentation began on a 140ha plot of land divided into several lots, and the yield per tonne of castor fruit would be evaluated to define an extended cultivation plan, ENI said. The project was launched to find an alternative raw material to palm oil.
ENI have been present in Tunisia since 1961, where it has managed upstream petroleum operations in the country.