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Stinkweed Biodiesel?

By Eytan Krasilovsky
November 19, 2008
File under: Alternative Sources, Biofuel

Stinkweed Biodiesel?

Clearly stinkweed (aka – field pennycress) shows promise as a next-gen biofuel to supplant soy and corn biofuels which are widely recognized to rob food production acres.

Additionally it is still in its infancy in terms of cultivation and best management practices are as yet non-existent.

Are wild varieties appropriate for biofuel cultivation? Are there regions or soil types better suited to winter wheat or another off season crop?

Currently it is assumed that stinkweed, due to its weedy characteristics won’t need fertilizer or irrigation. If those additional (energy intensive) inputs are needed in most areas proposed for cultivation then we can’t expect stinkweed to lead us to carbon neutral nirvana.

Stumbled upon by the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research as having high biofuel potential and currently under market study spearheaded by New York based Innovation Fuels, stinkweed could be fueling your zippy and efficient clean diesel Ford sub-compact (currently available in Europe but not in the US, shooting yourselves in the foot auto industry?) in 2015.

Or maybe you’ll plant your garden with stinkweed and home-brew your own biodiesel mix in your garage?

Given the uncertainties of convincing farmers to cultivate it, and the state and federal agencies that support their agricultural practices; throw in the potential high cost to ecosystem services (water, air, soil, wildlife, timber).

If large scale cultivation is not a safe endeavor, I suspect that your more likely to go to a home-brewing stinkweed party to fuel your diesel VW Beetle than paying for it at the pump!

Who knows? Innovation Fuels – prove me wrong!

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