Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Harvesting Salicornia Oil From Coastal Deserts

Salicornia, or sea asparagus, can be grown in saltwater along dry desert seacoasts--on land where almost nothing else will grow. It is possible to retrieve approximately 100 gallons of proto-biodiesel from each acre of briny desert. Not a bad return considering the ground being used.
On two plantations on the Gulf of California in the state of Sonora, Mexico, Global Seawater Inc. is using coastal land and seawater to grow what it sees as an important biodiesel feedstock that will help solve the world’s energy needs. At farms in Bahia Kino and Tastiota, Mexico, Global Seawater is growing salicornia, a salt-loving halophyte plant that thrives in the heat and poor soil...

....Approximately 30 percent of salicornia seed per weight is oil and the remaining 70 percent of the oilseed biomass can be used as a protein feed for livestock, McCoy said, adding that the oil is very similar in quality to safflower oil. The company has used the oil as a feedstock to produce biodiesel which meets the BQ-9000 biodiesel accreditation standard, McCoy said, adding that between 225 and 250 gallons of biodiesel can be produce per hectare (approximately 2.5 acres) of salicornia...

...McCoy said salicornia can be farmed using traditional equipment. “This is very much like traditional farming,” he said. “But what is unique and revolutionary about it is that we're using these coastal desert regions that are essentially unused and completely devoid of any life and seawater.” He said the company is developing specialized equipment to increase productivity and the capture rate of the salicornia seed. The company is also testing use of the salicornia crop residue as feedstock for energy production. _BiodieselMag
By using desert land and seawater, farmers can create a viable cash crop out of virtually nothing. As humans learn to use more deserts and barren seacoasts to provide necessary fuel, energy, and food, the "limits to growth" that so haunted the unimaginative doomsters of the '70s and '80s will fade.

Peak oil, climate catastrophe, Y2K, overpopulation doom, catastrophic deforestation, a pollution-choked Earth, etc. and more dooms than you can imagine--coming and going. Humans need a good doomsday to give purpose to their lives, apparently.

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