The project has 4 phases:
Phase 1: Construction of an industrial pilot project of bio ethanol production of 20,000 liters per day. It is currently under construction and its production activities will be initiated in September 2009. For this phase, the company will sow a cassava field of 1,300 hectares.
Phase 2: Construction and operation of bio ethanol plants with a projected production of 350,000 liters per day, whose designs and detail engineering will start in the second semester of 2010. The first 350,000 liter plant is estimated to be in operation in the second semester of 2011, necessitating a cassava field of 21,000 hectares.
Phase 3: The second 350,000 liter plant will be opened a year after the first one in conjunction with a 21,000 cassava field.
Phase 4: The third plant will be opened with the same capacity and the same cassava field two years after the first.
The three plants will be opened within three years, generating 3,000 direct jobs and 5,000 indirect jobs in total.
The national government of Colombia issued a regulation ordering that at least 10% of the national fuel supply be from alternative fuels. All cities with less than 500,000 inhabitants have not been able to comply with the regulation due to a lack of supply. In addition, the government is hoping to increase the mixture of bio ethanol in the national fuel supply in the future, thereby guaranteeing a future demand for bio ethanol production.
Because of widespread violence in the region, there are large and under-exploited land tracts in the project area that can be effectively used to grow an inedible variety of cassava plant for bio ethanol. This agricultural project will provide new sources of employment and economic opportunity in the region.
The company began the production of cassava in two phases:Phase 1: A regional test was conducted with CIAT to evaluate the possibility of sowing cassava in the zone, using elite clones and commercial materials as the test inputs. As a result of this test, some promising materials were selected, as their performance was above the 25 ton/ha mark and the content of dried matter was above 30 percent.
Phase 2: Those materials were used for seed reproduction and evaluation in a larger extension of the previous regional test. The second sowing hoped to create a bank of clean seed adapted to the zone and environmental conditions.
In addition, since 2007, the company has been developing a biological control of plagues in cassava cultivation using different strategies.