ARS Working to Develop Biofuel from Camelina

Researches are running into some problems concerning rotations with wheat.

Published on: Apr 14, 2010
Agricultural Research Service scientists have long-term studies underway to examine growing camelina as a bioenergy crop for producing jet fuel for the military and the aviation industry. Native to Europe, camelina has been grown since ancient times for use as lamp fuel, among other things. The seed's high oil content has made it a promising candidate as a new source for biofuels.

However, camelina does have its problems. Preliminary results from
Sidney, Montana, suggest that current camelina varieties use about as much water as spring wheat, so growers would still need to leave land fallow in alternate years to build up water or accept possible yield losses for wheat grown in rotation.

ARS camelina germplasm research concentrates on identifying high-yielding lines that industry can use to develop new cultivars suitable for different growing conditions across the country. Already, scientists in Maricopa,
Arizona, have identified a few lines of germplasm from the ARS camelina collection that are suitable for rotations with cotton.