Improving Production of Bio-crude From Curly-Top Gumweed

Harvesting gumweed for biofuel extraction

Biofuels are increasingly important in the United States as we move beyond fossil fuels.   However, serious constraints exist with the production of biofuels, including competition for land for growing food and feed, as well as the costs of biofuel production. 

Curly-Top Gumweed (Grindelia squarrosa) is a plant that shows considerable promise as a biofuel crop grown on arid lands, and is a crop that can be grown with substantially reduced water requirements.  It presently grows throughout Nevada, particularly along roadsides where additional water from road runoff is available.    This plant, when converted to a crop, has the potential for allowing land to continue to be farmed as water availability is reduced, as well as opening up new land where agriculture was not possible, due to the lack of sufficient water for more water-intensive crops such as alfalfa.  

This project examine the biofuel potential of gumweed, both from an agronomic perspective, but also from chemical perspective.  The need to learn how to grow the plant to maximize production, as wewells the need to understand how the chemistry of the “biocrude” can be changed to maximize the biofuel production and economic value are eessential for future production.