Peanuts Studied as Source of Biodiesel Fuel
Durham July 30, 2007
Move over, soybeans and corn: Peanuts may be elbowing their way into
the biodiesel fuel market. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists are searching for
economically feasible peanut varieties for that very purpose.
Faircloth at the
National Peanut Research Laboratory at Dawson, Ga., and Daniel Geller, a
collaborative engineer at the University of
Georgia, are testing a peanut called Georganic. It's not suited to current
commercial edible standards for peanuts, but is high in oil and has low
production input costs.
Georganicor similar varietieswill likely be the future of
peanut biodiesel because it can be planted and grown with just one herbicide
application for weed control, compared to the three to four applications
typically sprayed during a growing season for edible peanuts. Additionally,
these fuel peanuts are grown without fungicides, which are the greatest input
cost in traditional peanut production.
To further reduce production costs and increase yield, the research
team is also studying technology such as conservation tillage and selection of
varieties with high tolerance to multiple diseases. Currently, there are 24
peanut varieties being scrutinized in this biodiesel screening project,
including Georganic, which was developed by ARS breeders in Tifton, Ga.
Promising varieties also include DP-1 and Georgia-04S, a new high-oleic-acid,
Many old and new peanut varieties are being tested for field
performance, and their oils are being analyzed for diesel performance
characteristics. It has been found that high-oleic-acid peanutsa quality
desired for extended shelf life of food productsalso make the best
Today, soybean oil is the primary oil used in the United States for
biodiesel fuel production. Soybeans produce approximately 50 gallons of fuel
per acre, while traditionally grown peanuts can produce approximately 120 to
130 gallons of biodiesel fuel per acre.
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.