Camelina is an annual plant with prolific small, pale-yellow flowers with four petals, attains heights of 1 to 3 feet and has branched stems that become woody at maturity. Leaves are arrow-shaped, sharp-pointed and about 3 inches long with smooth edges. Seed pods are the size and shape of a small pea. The seeds are very small, amounting to about 400,000 seeds per pound, and they are 40 percent oil, compared to 20 percent with soybeans.


Sustainable Oils is leading the way to build exciting new markets for camelina oil. The jet fuel market has emerged as a strong business opportunity for camelina producers. Airlines and the military are looking for new, greener ways to fuel their planes. Camelina fits the bill.

A life cycle analysis of the carbon footprint of camelina-based biojet fuel concludes that the renewable fuel reduces CO2 emissions by 75 percent compared to traditional petroleum-based jet fuel, according to a peer-reviewed paper published in the journal Environmental Progress & Sustainable Energy. The study also found that “green” diesel made through the same process reduces CO2 emissions by 80 percent. The research, in collaboration with UOP , a Honeywell company, was conducted at Michigan Tech University, and based on camelina grown in Montana and processed into biojet fuel using UOP hydroprocessing technology.

Camelina-based biojet fuel is well positioned to be the renewable fuel of choice for airlines and the U.S. military once the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) approves a specification for renewable jet fuel, known as Hydrotreated Renewable Jet (HRJ). The standard is expected to be fully approved in 2011.

Camelina-based jet fuel has been among the most, if not the most, heavily tested of any renewable jet fuel, with successful tests by the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Army and Japan Airlines. These groups have conducted multiple tests of the fuel on different aircraft types, engines, and at different speeds. Camelina-based fuels have passed every test.

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