PEORIA, IL --- Biofuels Manufacturers of Illinois (BMI), a company planning to operate a major biodiesel plant in Peoria County, plans to use the pennycress plant as feedstock.

Last week, the first commercial harvest of the plant, once called "stinkweed," took place in Mapleton, the Journal Star reported. 

BMI plans to eventually construct and operate a 45-million-gallons-per-year biodiesel plant. The plant design permits expansion to a capacity of 60 million gallons per year. 

Pennycress is a member of the mustard family. The plant's seeds contain 36 percent oil. That's twice as much as soybeans. 

"No other sustainable energy crop has the potential that pennycress has," Sudhir Seth, president and CEO of BMI, told the Journal Star. "This is a crop that does not obstruct the food chain. It has an estimated value of $125 to $175 per acre for farmers, and we're able to convert 80 percent of the plant to energy."