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Development of Safflower as a New Biomass Energy Crop for the Lower Great Plains of North America

2013 USDA-NIFA Seed Award


Principal Investigators and affiliations:
PI:  Dr. Dick Auld (Plant and Soil Sciences, Texas Tech University)
Co-PI:  Dr. Calvin Trostle (Texas A & M University)
Co-PI:  Dr. Chad Godsey (Oklahoma State University)
Co-PI:  Dr. Sangamesh Angadi (New Mexico State University

Funded: $160,723
Start Date: 1/29/2013

End Date: 12/31/2015


Expected Outcomes

The overall goal of this proposal is to successfully introduce a frost-seeded safflower crop that is well adapted to the Lower Great Plains Region to ensure sustainable production of biodiesel.


The primary deliverable of this proposal would be the development of a regionally unique, rurally based, biofuel industry. With continuing research and extension delivery, planting of cold tolerant safflower could produce seed yields in excess of 2,000 lbs per acre and provide feedstocks sufficient for over 100 gal/acre of biodiesel. The life-cycle assessment (LCA) of cold tolerant safflower derived biodiesel showed the total energy required to produce a gallon of biodiesel was 22,414 Btu after allocating energy from co-products. Since safflower can be grown on marginal or degraded land with little or no water inputs, indirect land use effects were minimal. This study also determined that farmers would produce safflower at prices above $0.06/lbs and irrigation inputs would need to be only about 6.5 inches per acre. This level of production would provide sufficient oil for production of 360 million gallons (8.6 million BB) of biodiesel and sufficient meal for 2.4 million tons of high protein feed supplements critical to the animal industry of this region.

A secondary deliverable is the development of a multidisciplinary, regionally focused research team that can solve practical problems that currently limit our biofuel industry.

In addition, this study will provide the continuing research and extension delivery needed to allow commercial production of this uniquely adapted crop.

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