Noxious Weed New Source for Biodiesel?
By Grit Staff | Apr 24, 2008
The demand for biodiesel is ever increasing and traditional oil crops like soybeans and peanuts may not be the best feedstocks for the Earth-friendly fuel. According to the National Biodiesel Board, demand for biodiesel has increased from about a half million gallons in 1999 to around 225 million gallons in 2006. It takes a bushel of soybeans to produce one and a half gallons of soy diesel, and with the price of soybeans on the rise, the total raw material cost of 100% soy diesel is over $3.50 a gallon. It’s not surprising that biodiesel producers are looking for other plant oils to feed their fuel, and ironically one source, the Chinese tallow tree, is classified as a noxious weed in some parts of the country.
Chinese tallow (Sapium sebiferum) came to this country in the 17th century and has plagued the coastal plains from South Carolina to Texas for years as an invasive weedy species. Chinese tallow is capable of producing about 15 times the oil per acre that soybeans produce. Though establishing the crop is more expensive up front, its perennial nature means that a single planting would produce oil for years to come. At the moment, Chinese tallow isn’t susceptible to any microbial or insect pests, but its tendency to spread is problematic and may make it difficult to grow legally in some areas.
To read more about the potential value of this weedy tree, check out our resource list.
Beekeeping for Beginners: Common-Sense Guide to Bee Safety
It’s common bee safety knowledge that bees are defensive by nature, so don’t set off their warning bells is one beekeeping for beginners tip.
From One Novice Farmer to Another: Questions to Answer Before Beginning Farming
Bush hogging a field with the dog guarding Photo by Bradley Rankin Have you been thinking lately about taking the plunge and buying or leasing a small farm? If the answer is yes, then I would like to share with you my experiences since 2018 for finding, purchasing, and developing our 48-acre Kentucky farm. Learn […]
Growing Wheat in Our Garden
Small-scale wheat production can yield a delicious, bountiful harvest, and sprout a satisfaction from making your own homegrown bread.