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  • Condensed by Lynda Kiernan-Stone, Unconventional Ag Media

Oilseed Industry Stakeholders Weigh Conventional and Emerging Crops for Biofuel Production

There has been an uptick in the construction of plants in the U.S. to produce renewable biofuel in anticipation of growing demand. And parallel to this development, researchers are examining which crops would result in the best final product.

The Agricultural Utilization and Research Institute has brought together stakeholders and businesses in the renewable biofuel industry to discuss a range of oilseeds - both conventional and emerging - that can be targeted by the industry.

Although they contain a lower oil content compared to sunflowers, canola, or camelina, soybeans were identified as the most viable source for renewable fuel processing. As such, the soybean industry estimates that there are about 24 crushing plants, including three in North Dakota that are being planned or are under construction in the U.S.

While sunflowers contain more than twice the oil content of soybeans at 40-50 percent versus 18-21 percent, the crop’s lack of acreage makes it not ideal. The same for camelina and pennycress, which both lack acreage and production research. Additionally, most crush plants don’t have the ability to switch the crops they process. However, the ability for companies to crush a variety of oilseeds is a goal that the Ag Innovation Campus in Crookston, Minnesota, is looking to meet.

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