State of Chiapas, Mexico

A Green Fuels bio-refinery is producing biodiesel for the state of Chiapas in Mexico to power the entire public transport system of state capital Tuxtla Gutiérrez and neighboring Tapachula.

The project, called Conejobus, is one of the Chiapas government’s sustainable development initiatives. With 71 buses serving approximately 46,000 passengers a day, Conejobus was financed entirely by the state government and is run by concessionaire Transporte Urbano Tuxtla Gutiérrez, which is 51% state-owned and 49% private-owned.

President Felipe Calderon opened the biodiesel plant in January 2010, declaring it “Proof of Mexico’s commitment in the fight against climate change.”

The versatility of the FuelMatic plant
The FuelMatic bio-refinery supplied by Green Fuels has an initial production capacity of 20,000 liters a day and can be expanded up to 10 times its this. It is an environmentally friendly facility and works by modifying the heating process through solar energy using Mexican technology.

How the process works
Chiapas is a poor region and so the Mexican government is using biodiesel production as an economic development tool here. Biodiesel can be converted from a wide variety of feedstocks, one being the jatropha curcas plant which has seeds that contain non-edible oil. Some 10,000ha of land across the state have been given to local farmers who each cultivate small plots of jatropha and sell the fruit to the government for conversion to biodiesel. When necessary, this feedstock is supplemented with palm oil and used cooking oil.

Chiapas is now Mexico’s leading biodiesel producer. Its sustainable biodiesel program is an excellent example of the social, economic and environmental benefits that can result from low-carbon projects. Not only does it create opportunities for local farmers and stimulate the state’s economy, the project also improves the environment by:

  • Productively using degraded land and absorbing CO2 through the jatropha plantations
  • Producing a clean source of fuel for the public transportation systems in two of the state’s largest cities
  • Decoupling the price of diesel from volatile world oil prices.

The Chiapas biorefinery forms part of the Center for Biodiesel Research and Production Technology, which has production modules with various technologies. The biodiesel will be produced with Jatropha curcas, palm, and recycled oil.