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Current and Potential Feedstocks

Castor
Ricinus communis, is a seed bearing plant that is grown in semi arid climates, and is indigenous to tropical regions around the world. Castor produces inedible oil seeds with oil content ranging from 40-47% with potential seed yield of 1,500-2,800 kg per hectare. Castor is drought tolerant, naturally resistant to pests and disease, and does not compete with food resources. Castor behaves an a perennial in the tropics, and cold temperatures cause it to act as an annual. Castor oil is highly valued for use in the chemicals industry as a result of the chemical properties of ricinoleic acid, which make it a valid replacement for petroleum for use in plastics, rubber, lubricants, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals.

Sunflower
Sunflower oil is the non-volatile oil expressed from sunflower (Helianthus annuus) seeds. Sunflower oil is commonly used in food as a frying oil, and in cosmetic formulations as an emollient. Sunflower oil contains predominantly linoleic acid in triglyceride form. The British Pharmacopoeia lists the following profile:

Palmitic acid: 4 - 9%,
Stearic acid: 1 - 7%,
Oleic acid: 14 - 40%,
Linoleic acid: 48 - 74%.

There are several types of sunflower oils produced, such as high linoleic, high oleic and mid oleic. High linoleic sunflower oil typically has at least 69% linoleic acid. High oleic sunflower oil has at least 82% oleic acid. Variation in unsaturated fatty acids profile is strongly influenced by both genetics and climate. In the last decade high stearic sunflower lines have been developed in Spain to avoid the use of hydrogenated vegetable oils in food industry. Sunflower oil also contains lecithin, tocopherols, carotenoids and waxes. Sunflower oil's properties are typical of a vegetable triglyceride oil. Sunflower oil is produced from oil type sunflower seeds. Sunflower oil is light in taste and appearance and has a high Vitamin E content. It is a combination of mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats with low saturated fat levels.

Pongamia
Pongamia pinnata is seed bearing tree that is grown in semi arid climates around the world, and is indigenous to Indonesia. Pongamia produces inedible oilseeds that contain 30-35 % oil with potential seed yields of up to 9000 kg per hectare. Pongamia is a hardy tree that is resistant to drought, pests, and does not compete with food resources. Pongamia reaches maturity after approximately 3 years, and can live much longer. Extracted Pongamia oil is valued as a substitute for petroleum in transportation and power generation sectors.

Camelina
Camelina sativa L. is a an annual plant that is indigenous to Northern Europe. Camelina produces many small, dense inedible seeds that have approximately 35% oil content with yield up to 1200 kg seeds per hectare. Camelina has resistance to drought and pests, exhibits excellent agronomic characteristics, a strong cold tolerance, and does not compete with food resources. Camelina oil is valued for use in the specialty chemicals industry and well as a replacement for petroleum in transportation and power generation applications.

Jatropha
Jatropha curcas is a seed bearing shrub that is grown in semi arid climates, and is indigenous to Latin America. Jatropha produces inedible oil seeds that contain 30-35% oil with an average seed yield of 5,000 kg per hectare. Jatropha is drought tolerant, naturally resistant to pests and disease, and does not compete with food resources Jatropha reaches maturity after 2-3 years, can live for up to 40 years, and can reach a height of more than 4 meters. Jatropha oil is valued for replacement of petroleum in a variety of functions including transportation and power generation.

Lesquerella
Lesquerella fendleri is an annual plant that originated in the southwestern United States. Lesquerella produces inedible oil seeds that contain up to 30% oil and 60% lesquerolic acid, with yields up to 1120 kg seeds per hectare. Lesquerella is tolerant to drought, severe temperature fluctuations, and does not compete with food resources. Plants exhibit an indeterminate growth habit, and germinate in late summer - early autumn, with little vegetative growth occurring during winter, and increased growth, flowering, and seed setting by late spring. The oil extracted from these seeds is very valuable for use in the specialty chemicals industry.