GOLDEN, CO – In a step toward U.S. energy independence, Blue Sun Biodiesel has earned an ACRE grant from the state of Colorado to commercialize a non-food energy crop, camelina, for use in biodiesel. The crop could bring $80 million to Colorado’s economy, according to www.gobluesun.com.
The Colorado Agricultural Value-Added Development Board administers the Advancing Colorado’s Renewable Energy (ACRE) Program, which provides funding to promote energy-related projects beneficial to Colorado’s agriculture industry.
The $41,059 ACRE grant supporting camelina research will be joined by an additional $12,910 from Blue Sun. Blue Sun is using the grant to develop camelina production practices by conducting water use efficiency trials, fertility experiments, date of planting studies, and observing on-farm production. The culmination of the grant will result in a spring camelina production guide.
Blue Sun is actively breeding spring and winter camelina, through traditional breeding practices, to develop superior regionally adapted camelina cultivars for the region. Blue Sun has a spring camelina variety Cheyenne commercialized and available for sale.
Crops such as camelina support local farmers by expanding crop options and reducing risk for marginal land with low and variable rainfall. The camelina plant can withstand cold temperatures and produce good yields when planted early (Feb. 1 to Mar. 30). Camelina has the additional benefit of low cultivation costs.
Blue Sun is an agriculturally-focused biodiesel company that already has four years of direct experience with the tasks required to commercialize oilseed crops in Colorado.