Freeways-to-Fuel Project Underway in Utah

By | July 15, 2009
Test plots are growing oilseed crops in Utah today that could tap into currently unproductive lands, ranging from roadside rights-of-way to airports and military bases, as new locations for biodiesel feedstock production. With U.S. Department of Transportation funding, NBB is supporting the Freeways-to-Fuel Project which will harvest its first test plots starting this month. The Utah state government and Department of Transportation initiated the project in 2007.

Utah has nearly 6,000 miles of highway roadsides. In 2006, required maintenance costs were $300 per mile. Using the land for biodiesel crop production, however, could improve efficiency as well as produce cleaner burning fuel for the state's fleet. The concept has grown and now includes numerous partners, including NBB, New Holland and multiple universities across the nation. Project leaders estimate that 10 million acres of non-traditional agronomic lands could be available to produce biodiesel feedstock on America's rights-of-way.

Potential crops include canola, safflower, dwarf sunflower, camelina, mustard and flax. The economic model behind the project shows that biodiesel produced from this method has the potential to be economically feasible depending on the price of diesel and crop yields. Initial results from the project are expected by 2012. For more information go to, www.freewaystofuel.org
 
 
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