Utah’s new initative: turn unused land into fuel

Local officials in Salt Lake City Utah KSL News reported are turning unused property around the city into safflower to make biofuel. Safflower is said to be a drought resistant, low maintenance crop.  The city would look at unused property it owns  aprox 3,000 to 5,000 acres and is developing a strategy to make it more sustainable to the city. This is a new type of urban farming that requires collaboration from across many sectors of the community from research institutions to the sewer company. This plan would lessen land- use change as the land is already unused for any agricultural purposes. The hard part is going to be developing the land to make it suitable for these plants to grow and thrive.

What in the world is safflower anyway? Well according to a recent article in Bioresource Technology by  Kanellina Giannakopoulou (a great last name) et al., it is an edible and non-edible vegetable oil for converting into biofuel. The conversion of safflower results in a better product with a higher heating value, or higher commercial market value. The resulting properties of the converted product allow it to be made into a biofuel grade product much easier thus reducing post-production costs. The paper outlines the best method for conversion and if you are interested in the exact chemistry you can read the paper for yourself.

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