Flax Finding New Life as Biodiesel Stock

John Davis

texasam1.jpgFifty years ago, you could see acres and acres of flax growing in the southern part of Texas. Today, the crop once grown for vegetable oil, is finding new life as a feedstock for biodiesel.

This story from Texas A&M University says the school’s Texas AgriLife Research field trial experiment is testing four varieties of flax seeds:

morgan.jpg“It’s kind of like we’re coming full circle,” said Dr. Gaylon Morgan, small grains researcher and member of the Texas A&M AgriLife project team. “Flax was grown on about 400,000 acres during that time and Texas AgriLife Research had an active flax breeding program.

“Those varieties were known nationwide for having good cold tolerance. That’s what we needed, a flax variety was something you could plant in the fall, survive the winter, avoid late freezes, and produce seed in the spring. Now we’re evaluating this as a possible biodiesel product or (one which) could be used in the vegetable oil industry.”

The testing is also looking at the feasibility of other oilseeds, such as canola, rapeseed, winter-hearty safflower, and camelina, to find the best oil yields.