Cultivation of Oil Plants

Before this project, almost exclusively rape seed and sunflower oil were used as engine fuel. In particular, rape seed cultures can be considered to be problematic, because rape seeds can hardly be produced in organic agriculture, thus needing chemicals and related energy input for their production. Due to ecologic restrictions, rape seed production can hardly be widened much more, thus limiting the potential contribution of rape seed oil to the fuel market to a few percent. The situation is just a bit better for sunflowers.
Hence, if used at larger scale, other vegetable oils must be considered in addition to rape and sunflower oil. As other oils have also different properties with regard to engine combustion and emissions, this increases the challenges of fuel quality and emissions control.

Picture of Mixed Cropping with Camelina Sativa

Camelina sativa is a co-crop in mixed-cropping with cereals and/ or fodder peas. Mixed-cropping, the cultivation of two or more plant species at the same time on the same field, allows switching from conventional to organic agriculture without yield losses.
The broad leaves of camelina sativa prevent weeds to sprout. The corn and peas are higher up and less exposed to humidity, therefore less threatened by fungi. This allows avoiding chemical plant protection almost entirely. The oil from camelina sativa is an additional yield and 100-300 liters can be obtained per hectare in addition to the yield of the main crop. The potential of camelina sativa oil from mixed-cropping in the EU is about 60PJ.
(Picture by Tim Brand)
Jatropha is produced in arid zones of tropical countries. The plant is very little demanding to soil and water availability. It grows up to hedges and is used for protecting fields from goats. The oil from the jatropha nut can not be used as food. So there is no competition between food and fuel production.
(Picture by VWP)
Picture of Jatrpha Cultivation

Background Information
Advantages of pure Vegetable Oil
Cultivation of Oil Plants

Seventh Framework Programme
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