While jatropha is taking off as a biofuel stock, camelina sativa is garnering some attention of its own for its potential as a biofuel that would work with, not against, food crops.
The pros of the plant include that it doesn’t require much rainfall, yields crops double that of soy beans, produces an oil resistant to colder temperatures, and the leftovers after the oil is extracted makes for good livestock feed. Additionally, it can be grown in rotation with wheat crops, helping to increase wheat yields by 15% while producing up to 100 gallons of camelina oil per acre. Since it produces industrial oil, and not food oil, yet leftovers can be used as food for animals that become food, it would go a long way in reducing the debate swirling around food crops as biofuel. Those are some pretty attractive pros.
The cons include growers not knowing much about the plant, and not a lot of field testing has been done on it (Montana State University is working on more studies on that). However one feels about growing crops to fuel machines, advocates of biofuel may be turning to this plant as an option for a high-yield crop that doesn’t get in the way of other important food crops like wheat.
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