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Jet fuel from cabbage and cauliflower

canada brassica carinata agrisoma biosciences applied research associates

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#1 Hum

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 16:37

A fuel that can burn without any modifications to the existing engines of passenger fleets around the world.

This fuel comes from one Canadian firm, Agrisoma Biosciences Inc., and an American one, Applied Research Associates (ARA). And while biofuels often comes from corn or soybean oil, this comes from a less familiar oilseed that can grow well in poor soils.

Brassica carinata is technically in the mustard family, but many members of the brassica genus (group of species) are better known as leafy vegetables such as cabbage and cauliflower.

“Carinata can be another success story for Canada like canola,” said Chuck Red, principal engineer at ARA.

The pluses are partly agricultural, Red said. Carinata grows in marginal soil where canola won’t. It can be used in rotation with other crops, or during a period when a field would normally be fallow. For instance, in Southeastern U.S. states where farmers sometimes grow one crop in summer and let the land lie fallow in winter, they can plant a winter carinata crop instead.

He estimated one acre of the plant produces 100 to 200 gallons of jet fuel.

The seeds are small and light brown. They produce a yellow-brown plant oil that is already used as a “feedstock” (raw material) for some industrial oils such as biodiesel.

The final refined product meets specifications for commercial jet use with no need to blend in any petroleum-based fuel, he said.

To the untrained eye the transparent liquid bio fuel appears identical to petroleum-based jet fuel.

"It turns into essentially drop-in fuel that looks and acts identical to conventional jet fuel," explained Fabijanski, adding that increased oilseed production to make the fuel would not adversely impact food farming.

"The farmers that we use to grow this seed are farmers that have land that is not particularly good for food production. By growing this seed you actually enhance or improve the land for eventual food production," he said.

The cost of production for commercial use has yet to be calculated. But Chuck Red of Applied Research Associates insisted it would be "cost competitive" with petroleum-based fuel, when in full production.

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#2 DocM

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 17:10

The land is often let sit for a period to allow it to recover after a crop has depleted it, often by planting nitrogen fixing plants to aid the process. After they are done they're unused portions are plowed under to return more nutrients to the soil for the next food crop.

Are these nitrogen fixing? Not unless they're genmods because cauliflower requires a rich soil and fertilization to grow well. Cabbage also requires good soil that is also well drained.

The problem with most all these plant-based biofuels is that in order for enough to be produced for a real impact they end up removing croplands from food production. Look at the situation with corn based ethanol and what it did to thd price of foods.

#3 Growled

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 04:23

My big problem with biofuel is I don't think it's a good idea to burn our food sources.



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