02 February 2009 23:57 [Source: ICIS news]
Dallas Hanks, a doctoral student at the university, said a research team and the Utah Department of Transportation planted about an acre of canola and safflower along a stretch of highway to harvest oilseeds for biodiesel production.
Despite the state undergoing the hottest, driest year in its history, the crop yield was about 30%, Hanks told the National Biodiesel Board's annual conference in San Francisco.
The group was able to eventually produce biodiesel for about $2.00/gal (€1.56/gal), he said.
“No one’s done this before. We’re kind of in crazy land,” Hanks said.
The group has expanded to include 10 universities and three private companies to form the Freeways to Fuels consortium, which is proposing to take the roadside growing concept and applying it to regions that are more crop-friendly than Utah.
If all goes according to plan, the project would open up land that is not currently in food, fibre, feed or flower production, he said.
“There’s around 4m miles of roadway in the US. What do we do now with this land? We mow it," he said. "Why don’t we use it for biodiesel production?”
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