Montana camelina acres may increase

By Susanne Retka Schill | January 01, 2008
Montana's newest oilseed crop, camelina, may get a big boost this coming year from two joint ventures announced this fall to develop the crop for biodiesel production.

Montana-based Great Plains Oil and Exploration-The Camelina Co. conducted a series of grower meetings across the state's northern-tier counties in the fall. The company is hoping to recruit growers to expand camelina acres for its new partnerships. In August, Great Plains announced a partnership with INEOS Enterprises, a U.K. manufacturer of specialty chemicals and oil products. The partnership seeks to boost the production of camelina in the state's, Canada and the Pacific Northwest to 100,000 acres. INEOS Enterprises currently has a French plant that crushes more than 100,000 tons of rapeseed each year for the fuel and chemical market. Its Web site indicates plans to dramatically increase its European biodiesel production. Great Plains also has a partnership with Ohio-based Peter Cremer North America LP to supply camelina for the company's Nexsol brand of biodiesel. Great Plains said it is willing to contract all the camelina acres that Montana growers are willing to plant. In addition, 2007 growers were offered the opportunity to plant up to 50 acres in the fall for harvest in the early summer of 2008 to test the plant's winter hardiness.

In a separate project, Sustainable Oils Inc. was formed in late November through a joint venture between Seattle-based Targeted Growth Inc. and Houston-based Green Earth Fuels LLC. The new company aims to produce 100 million gallons of camelina-based biodiesel by 2010 in a U.S. location yet to be determined. Targeted Growth is a crop development firm working in the United States and Canada to improve biofuel crops including soybeans, canola and, most recently, camelina. It plans to sell its new camelina seed variety to farmers through Western State Breeders Inc. in Bozeman, Mont. Green Earth operates a 90 MMgy multi-feedstock biodiesel facility in the Galena Park Liquids Terminal owned by Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP on Houston's ship canal.
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