Peanuts being tested for use in biodiesel fuel

by Staff
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WASHINGTON — New research from Agricultural Research Service scientists is trying to produce economically feasible peanut varieties for use in the biodiesel fuel market.

Wilson Faircloth, an agronomist at the A.R.S. National Peanut Research Laboratory in Dawson, Ga., and Daniel Geller, a collaborative engineer at the University of Georgia, are testing a peanut called Georganic. While it doesn’t meet edible standards, it is high in oil and has low production input costs.

Georganic may be planted and grown with one herbicide application for weed control, in comparison with the three or four applications that are typically sprayed during a growth season for edible peanuts. Georganic is also grown without fungicides.

The researchers also are looking into conservation tillage and selection of varieties with high tolerance to multiple diseases. Altogether, there are 24 peanut varieties being tested in the biodiesel screening project.

Soybean oil is currently used as the primary oil in biodiesel fuel production in the U.S., and soybeans may yield about 50 gallons of fuel per acre. However, traditionally grown peanuts may yield about 120 to 130 gallons of biodiesel fuel per acre.

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