Company makes camelina biodiesel a reality
There's a new player fueling the alternative energy market and it's picking up speed as fossil fuels continue to fall short. Camelina, an oilseed crop in the same family as mustard, is currently being grown throughout the United States and Canada and crushed to produce biodiesel by Great Plains-The Camelina Company.
With several crushing partners in North America, Great Plains has produced more than 10 million road miles of camelina biodiesel to date, and plans to boost production to 100 million gallons by the year 2012.
The U.S. Energy Bill signed at the end of 2007 increases the Renewable Fuels Standard to 36 billion gallons by 2022. But, with the rising cost of consumer goods, this mandate has come under fire recently as the primary reason land is being used to grow crops for fuel instead of for food production.
Camelina offers a solution for reaching this biodiesel production goal by providing a sustainable, low-input biofuel feedstock option that does not interfere with food production. Camelina is virtually 100 percent efficient. It can be harvested and crushed for oil and the remaining parts can be used to produce high quality omega-3 rich animal feed, fiberboard and glycerin.
Camelina does not take away from land currently being utilized for food production because it has the ability to grow on marginal land utilizing very little moisture. Camelina also fits into many farming operations as an excellent rotational crop to break the cycle of continuous small grains cropping. Even more important to some growers, camelina has been shown to enhance the yield of subsequent crops such as wheat by up to 15 percent.
Ted Durfey, president of Natural Selection Farms, Inc., in Washington state is one of the crushing partners working with Great Plains. The company started handling camelina for Great Plains in the spring, and since that time their facility has been operating nearly 24-7.
"My main reasons for getting involved are to create greater sustainability through local production of livestock meal and oil for biodiesel, reducing dependence on foreign oil," says Durfey. "Camelina fits nicely in low rainfall regions of our state and creates an additional low-input rotational crop, which aids in the reduction of weed and disease cycles."
Camelina biodiesel not only helps local economies, but as production acres increase, Great Plains camelina biodiesel will play a part in reducing the need for foreign oil supplies on a national level as well.
"This is an exciting time for both our company and the future of fuel in America," says Sam Huttenbauer, chief executive officer of Great Plains-The Camelina Company. "We've only scratched the surface of the potential camelina holds for biodiesel production, and we hope more growers will see the benefits of this crop and help to increase the available seed supply."
Great Plains is a vertically integrated company, taking camelina from seed to fuel. The company pioneered camelina production on a commercial scale three years ago, contracting with growers throughout the United States and Canada to grow the crop. In addition, the company has invested more than 10 years in the science and agronomic of camelina and continues to develop higher yielding, higher oil content camelina varieties.
Growers or landowners interested in more information about growing camelina with Great Plains are encouraged to visit www.CamelinaCompany.com or call 877-922-6645.