Sunday, July 26, 2009
"Farmer planning diesel tree biofuel"
September 19, 2006 - 2:54PM
So now there is no-til biobiesel, a gift from a tree. Maybe horses or oxen are better than the tractors this article imply. A tractor doesn't need to be fed every day because it's not alive, but maintenance is expensive on machines, they don't reproduce or make manure, and humans can have wonderful relationships with farm animals. That the trees are still alive and growing throughout being harvested amazes me, though. -BBJ
They say that money doesn't grow on trees, but a Queensland farmer believes fuel does.
Mike Jubow, a nursery wholesaler from Mackay, has begun importing seed from Brazil to plant diesel trees.
The tropical trees, which have the botanic name copaifera langsdorfii, produce a biofuel that can be tapped, filtered and used to power machinery such as tractors.
It is estimated a one hectare plantation could produce 12,000 litres of fuel a year - enough to make a small farm fuel self-sufficient.
Mr Jubow, who operates the Nunyara Wholesale Forestry Nursery and has been in the industry for 14 years, said he had heard about the trees from a colleague attending a forestry conference.
"I pricked my ears and thought 'This guy is having a go at me' but when I came home I got onto the net and typed in diesel tree and there it was," Mr Jubow said.
"I thought 'I've got to get seeds for this thing' and it's taken me three years to track them down."
He sourced the seed from Brazil and says the first seedlings would be available in late January.
The recommended method of growing them is to plant 1,000 trees on a hectare of land, preferably in a tropical area, then test them for their vigour, growth and yield about three years later, which ordinarily would lead to culling about half of them.
About four to six years later they would be measured again before culling them down to between 250 and 350 of the best trees, which would be inter-bred and harvested for seed.
Mr Jubow said a large mature tree would yield about 40 litres of diesel a year, which equated to about 12,000 litres per hectare of trees.
"It becomes astonishingly viable for a farmer to have a piece of his most productive land to get the tree up and running and then he can be independent from the fuel companies for the rest of his life," he said.
They are known to produce fuel for 70 years.
While the fuel cannot be stored for more than a few months it can be tapped.
But even if it is left too long, it thickens into copaiba oil, which is used in alternative medicines and fetches around $100 a litre in the United States.
And at the end of the tree's life, it can be milled to produce a light brown timber favoured by cabinet makers.
"There's nothing wasted on the tree," Mr Jubow said.
Posted by Unknown at 12:07 PM