$10,000 biodiesel research grant winner announced

Wednesday, 03 December, 2008

A project aiming to develop biodiesel feedstock that does not compete with food crops and can be grown in dry conditions has won the $10,000 Case IH Biodiesel Research Grant.

The winning project, submitted by Australian Agricultural Crop Technologies, will attempt to find an improved Indian mustard seed cultivar suitable for use in biodiesel production.

Case IH marketing manager Stuart Brown said the project would address one of the critical issues of biodiesel production.

“Biodiesels can’t be produced without sufficient and appropriate feedstock. Supply has been a major problem — in fact, five Australian biodiesel plants have ceased operation because of the lack of reliable, consistent feedstock," Brown said.

“Australian Agricultural Crop Technologies is working on improving Indian mustard (Brassica juncea) cultivars for sustainable biodiesel production in dryer environments. Basically, they’re trying to develop a crop that is suitable for use only in biodiesel production, and which can be grown on land that couldn’t sustain a food crop. This project will help address the food versus fuel debate at the same time as helping meet the need for biodiesel crops.”

The grant will be used to accelerate the commercial development of this long-term project. Australian Agricultural Crop Technologies was also successful in gaining a $10,000 grant from the NSW Department of Lands. Lands Minister Tony Kelly established the government grant program after endorsing the Case IH program.

Project leader Daryl Young said the project involves two streams — a plant breeding component based near Narrabri in New South Wales and a crushing, manufacturing and testing component. Both parts of the project are being run in conjunction with Sydney University.

The grant program complements Case IH’s existing efforts to support the use of biodiesel. It is already possible to use biodiesel (in various percentages) in all Case IH equipment. In addition to offering the grant funding, Case IH has developed a series of seminars about improving fuel systems maintenance, a vital first step towards preparing farmers for future biodiesel use.

 

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