Biodiesel feedstock program supports Freeways-to-Fuel project

By | October 14, 2009
The NBB has long supported innovation in feedstock opportunities. It's no surprise the organization is helping to find yet another unique alternative to support biodiesel. Twenty miles north of Salt Lake City, hopeful researchers harvested a flowery red and yellow safflower crop as part the "Freeway-to-Fuel" project. Sponsored by NBB, the Utah Department of Transportation and others, the program is testing whether nontraditional or unused lands at military bases, airports, local municipalities and roadside parcels can be used to grow and harvest biofuel feedstock crops.

The test plots at the roadside lab in Utah may hold the key to increasing biofuel production while reducing the costs for mowing, upkeep and maintenance of these unused parcels of lands. Plus, the biodiesel produced from these crops could someday fuel their equipment, reducing cost even more.

"Biodiesel is the most diverse fuel on the planet," said NBB CEO Joe Jobe. "And the Freeways-to-Fuel program can expand that reach even more. This initiative can also complement urban farming projects, offering fruits and vegetables as well as plants grown to produce biodiesel."

Safflower, canola and soybeans are examples of feedstocks that can be grown and harvested to produce vegetable oil for biodiesel in addition to protein for humans and livestock. Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County officials are using 200 acres of vacant land near the airport to grow safflower for making biodiesel. The tillage required to make the land productive for biodiesel will also make it more economical for the city and county to use portions of the same land, or other publicly-owned, idle parcels, for community-supported farming.
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