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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Peoria, Illinois » National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research » Bio-oils Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #347663

Research Project: Replacement of Petroleum Products Utilizing Off-Season Rotational Crops

Location: Bio-oils Research

Title: Pennycress (Thlaspi arvense): A new oilseed for biofuel production in Europe and the U.S.

item ZANETTI, FEDERICA - University Of Bologna
item Isbell, Terry
item ALEXOPOULOU, EFTHIMIA - Centre For Renewable Energy Sources And Savings (CRES)
item Evangelista, Roque
item Gesch, Russell - Russ
item MONTI, ANDREA - University Of Bologna

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/14/2018
Publication Date: 5/14/2018
Citation: Zanetti, F., Isbell, T., Alexopoulou, E., Evangelista, R.L., Gesch, R.W., Monti, A. 2018. Pennycress (Thlaspi arvense): A new oilseed for biofuel production in Europe and the U.S. 26th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition, May 14-17, 2018, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Recently the interest toward potential new oilseeds is rapidly increasing; in particular, non-food crops that do not compete with food production are highly required by farmers and biobased industries. In the last decade, a “potential weed,” field pennycress (Thlaspi arvense, hereafter pennycress) has become one of the most attractive new non-food oil crops. Belonging to the Brassicaceae family, together with other well-known oilseeds, e.g., oilseed rape, Indian mustard, and Ethiopian mustard, pennycress shares with its relatives some positive traits such as high seed oil content (> 30% DM) and wide environmental adaptability. Different from the above mentioned species, pennycress is highly tolerant to low temperatures since it could easily tolerate temperatures below -15°C after reaching a 4-to-6-leaves rosette stage. Planted after a summer cereal, e.g., corn or sorghum, pennycress is able to complete its growth cycle by mid-May thus allowing the cultivation of a summer crop. Adding new crops, such as pennycress, to a traditional rotation system can provide economic and ecological benefits (Gesch et al., 2010) to farmers, who are always looking for new sources of income as well as strategies to improve nutrient and water availability for the succeeding crops. The seed contains up to 37% oil with the major fatty acid as erucic (36%). The fatty acid composition in pennycress has been shown to have physical properties suitable for biofuels like biodiesel and hydro-treated renewable jet fuel (HRJ). In the last decade, the U.S. has studied pennycress as a potential oilseed for biofuel production, either biodiesel and/or aviation fuel; in Europe, this species has never been evaluated as an alternative non-food crop. In this study, pennycress was grown in plots at two different locations (Bologna, northern Italy, and Aliartos, central Greece) within the Mediterranean basin and in one location in the U.S. (Peoria, Illinois) during the 2016-2017 growing season. The environmental adaptability of pennycress to the Mediterranean basin as well as its productive performance will be compared with data from the field trials established in the U.S. Representative seed samples from each location were solvent extracted for total oil recovery and compared across locations. Extracted oil was than evaluated for free fatty acid (FFA), color, cloud point (CP) and pour point (PP). Oils were then converted into methyl esters using a catalytic sodium methoxide process and the resulting biodiesel samples characterized for FFA, CP, PP, oxidative stability and cold temperature storage and the results compared to the location of seed production region.