Scientists from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) are studying the possibility of producing jet fuel from camelina for the aviation industry and the military. Camelina is a plant whose seed has high oil content, which makes it an ideal candidate for producing biofuels. This research backs the recently inked MoU between the U.S. Department of the Navy (DoN) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and also the Commercial Airlines Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI)’s interests.
Ever since 2006, university collaborators and ARS researchers have examined the process of incorporating camelina and other seed crops with high oil content into present-day crop production systems. Preliminary findings from Sidney, Montana, indicate that current varieties of camelina utilize almost the same quantity of water used by spring wheat, and it is not feasible for camelina growers. However, selecting and breeding a camelina variety that has rich oil content can serve as an ideal oil seed crop.
Moreover, scientists from Maricopa, Arizona have concluded that some germplasm species from the camelina collection of ARS are ideal for cultivation in tandem with cotton.
In addition to Maricopa and Sidney, some of the other ARS laboratories that are involved in the research on camelina are Pullman, Washington; Prosser, Washington; Morris, Minnesota; and Akron, Colorado.