Improvement of Cool Season Oilseeds to Support Economically Competitive Bio-Diesel Production on the Western High Plains

Period of Performance: 01/01/2003 - 12/31/2003


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

1400 W 122ND AVE STE 110
Denver, CO 80234
Principal Investigator
Firm POC


72599S03-I Our nation¿s increasing dependence on foreign oil is a threat to our economic stability and security, and continues to boost our trade deficit. A significant increase in renewable, cleaner-burning biofuels, such as biodiesel, offers the potential to address all of these issues. However, biodiesel market penetration is severely limited by high feedstock (vegetable oil) costs associated with soybean production on valuable farm ground. This project will diversify, extend, and lower the cost of America¿s biodiesel production capacity by developing industrial oilseed crops specifically suited for marginal, non-irrigated, fallow cropland. These oilseed crops could provide a regional biodiesel feedstock for regional refinement, enabling biodiesel to be price-competitive with petroleum-based diesel. Phase I will collect, grow, and carry out preliminary testing on candidate strains of three high-potential oilseed varieties in the southern High Plains of Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska. These oilseeds will be grown in field trials alongside the best-performing current oilseed crops as comparative performance checks to identify less costly strains that could adapt to this marginal agricultural region. Analysis of the highest-performing strains will set the stage for the Phase II development of cultivars with the specific agronomic traits for low-cost industrial oilseed crops. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by awardee: Oil from these developed oilseeds should provide a high-quality feedstock to the emerging biodiesel industry, resulting in a price-competitive biodiesel fuel suitable for use in diesel engines. Secondary commercial products include high-protein-content meal from oilseed crushing and glycerin from biodiesel production.