Peanuts for Biodiesel

John Davis

peanutsNo, it’s not cheap biodiesel… although it certainly could end up being biodiesel for just peanuts. What I’m talking about is scientists at the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service looking at using peanuts as the feedstock for biodiesel… maybe even cheaper than soybeans.

USDA logoThis article from the ARS web site says it could push the goober into the forefront of biodiesel research:

Agronomist Wilson Faircloth at the ARS 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.

Georganic—or similar varieties—will 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.

Right now, soybeans are primarily used for biodiesel, and they produce about 50 gallons of the fuel per acre. But peanuts could produce as much as 120 to 130 gallons per acre.