Global Clean Energy’s Camelina Oilseed Acreage Reaches Record-Breaking Levels

by | Oct 10, 2023

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Global Clean Energy Holdings said it has contracted a record-breaking 65,000 acres of camelina, an oilseed used for the production of renewable fuels and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), during the 2023 growing season.

The company’s subsidiaries, Sustainable Oils and Camelina Company, worked with growers to achieve this record-breaking acreage, which comes from fields in the Western United States, Argentina, France, and Spain. Growers also experienced record camelina yields, reaching up to 1,900 pounds per acre. Global Clean Energy has designed higher-yield camelina varieties that made this possible, and the seeds will be commercially available in 2024.

Camelina has been identified as an ideal oilseed for use in renewable fuels as it has both spring and winter varieties, and it may be used in a wide range of geographies and crop rotations. The crop replaces land that would otherwise lie fallow, both offering additional profits for farmers and improving soil between harvests. Further, the crop requires little water for growing, produces high oil content, and is highly scalable, not requiring any new equipment or storage from farmers.

“This record-breaking year for camelina has been over a decade in the making,” said Mike Karst, senior vice president of Global Clean Energy and president of Sustainable Oils. “Our company has over 15 years of experience breeding and cultivating camelina. We’re excited that growers are starting to see the potential this crop has to offer both their fields and their profits.”

Camelina Benefits Agricultural Sector and Clean Energy Development

Renewable fuels made from food crops currently face increasing demand and comparatively low supply, and the sector expects a supply crunch that may further drive up prices. Global Clean Energy promotes camelina as it is a nonfood feedstock and therefore does not compete with other food crops for resources, while still serving the same purpose in renewable fuel and SAF generation.

SAF has presented an avenue for decarbonizing air travel, an otherwise difficult task, so many airline companies have committed to purchasing SAF once it becomes more widely available. Other renewable biofuels may replace diesel fuels with a much lower-emissions alternative.

Considering diesel fuel consumption in the transportation sector resulted in about 472 million tons of carbon emissions in 2021, shifting to biofuels could dramatically reduce this number. Global Clean Energy also produces renewable propane and butane from camelina.

Farmers Also Benefit from Growing the Crop

On top of the environmental benefits of camelina and renewable fuels is the additional opportunity for farmers to increase profits by cultivating the crop. The added revenue of using land that would otherwise lie fallow may especially help to develop rural agricultural communities, according to Global Clean Energy.

“The income generated from our camelina harvest supports our family and farm in so many ways,” said Steve and Wanda McIntosh of SW & Crew Farms in Havre, Montana. “We’ve planted Sustainable Oils camelina the last four years and plan to plant it again in 2024. Thanks to camelina we’ve added a new crop to our rotation, giving us the opportunity to increase our profitability and reduce our risk.”

With the many advantages of camelina, Global Clean Energy expects to exponentially scale up the crop’s acreage as farmers learn of the financial benefits of the crop.

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