Texas A&M AgriLife, Chevron To Develop ‘Diesel Nut’

Peanut oil driven the world’s initially diesel motor when it was premiered by Rudolf Diesel at the World Exposition in Paris in 1900. Now, a collaboration amongst Chevron and Texas A&M AgriLife is reviving the use of peanuts as a renewable feedstock for diesel gas with a lower carbon intensity.

Carbon depth is the electrical power expended to produce a products, together with manufacturing inputs these types of as drinking water, pesticide and fertilizer, and how substantially net carbon that approach provides to the atmosphere. Lower carbon depth is essential in developing sustainable agricultural techniques.

The five-12 months, multi-million-dollar task will be led by John Cason,  a Texas A&M AgriLife Investigation peanut breeder at Stephenville. Improvement of the “diesel nut” will be multi-pronged and will include things like estimating financial feasibility, advancing present large-oil peanut germplasm and establishing new, minimal-input peanut strains for the renewable diesel business.

Co-leaders on the project are Luis Ribera, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Support economist and director of Texas A&M’s Middle for North American Scientific studies, Bryan-School Station Monthly bill McCutchen, centre director for Texas A&M AgriLife Study and Extension Centre, Stephenville and David Baltensperger, head of the Texas A&M Section of Soil and Crop Sciences.

Cliff Lamb, director of AgriLife Study, Bryan-University Station, mentioned this collaboration with Chevron presents AgriLife Investigate experts a possibility to establish peanuts that have a higher oil content material and are greater adapted to dryer climates — eventually creating a additional resilient agricultural method.

“We hope these new peanut varieties will provide producers a financially rewarding dryland or restricted irrigation crop solution,” Lamb reported. “What helps make this venture really thrilling is that it usually takes the total agricultural benefit chain into account, utilizing reducing-edge analysis to make an ample, cost-effective and substantial-good quality products that functions to defend organic assets, improve wellbeing and support economies in Texas and beyond. We appreciate the aid of this get the job done by Chevron.”

Chevron is developing the potential to make 100,000 barrels a day of renewable fuels in its producing system by 2030. Securing a trusted source of reduce lifecycle carbon depth renewable feedstocks is a priority for the organization.

“Chevron is thrilled to crew with Texas A&M AgriLife to function to produce the up coming technology of renewable gasoline feedstocks,” explained Michelle Young, renewables method manager for Chevron Downstream Engineering and Solutions. “This collaboration has the likely to produce high-high quality oil to create renewable fuels while providing peanut farmers in the U.S. with a further way to optimize the benefit of their operations.”

“The Texas Peanut Producers Board is energized to aid the ‘diesel nut’ undertaking and sights it as a single a lot more tool for farmers in Texas,” mentioned Shelly Nutt, Texas Peanut Producers Board govt director.

“Peanut farmers have prolonged recognized the value of using peanuts not only as a cash crop, but also as a crop that adds nutrition to the soil, producing a sustainable manufacturing technique,” Nutt mentioned. “With the success of this project, farmers could incorporate a small-input, superior-yielding ‘diesel nut’ with the potential to develop on marginal land or with minimal drinking water availability, into their rotation program and would not be competing with the large-top quality, edible peanut market place the board has labored so tricky to reach.”

Growing Oil Articles In Peanut Varieties

Presently, foods-quality peanut kinds have an oil articles of about 48%. Nevertheless, a number of superior-oil breeding lines have all around 55-60% oil articles. With those people yields, “diesel nut” peanuts could produce as significantly as 350 gallons of oil per acre, in comparison to soybeans’ present oil yields of roughly 25 to 50 gallons per acre.

AgriLife Research peanut breeders, like Michael Baring, Bryan-Faculty Station Charles Simpson, Stephenville and Mark Burow, Lubbock, started functioning on substantial-oil breeding lines 15 several years ago. Cason mentioned 4 of those people most promising traces had been picked to begin finding out the agronomics and yields.

“We also are building new crosses and screening Texas A&M AgriLife germplasm, like the wild germplasm assortment preserved by Simpson,” Cason claimed. “Our breeders are looking for germplasm with even greater oil written content to create the most elite cultivars that will also complete in dryland problems and make the highest oil written content.”

John Cason and Charles Simpson stand in a peanut greenhouse in Stephenville the place the “diesel nut” lines originated.


Sam Craft/Texas A&M AgriLife Communications

Making ‘Diesel Nut’ Types In Non-Irrigated Places

Cason and workforce see alternatives to convey peanut creation back again to non-irrigated, rain-fed parts using this substantial-oil germplasm. They will breed into these lines the features of improved condition and drought tolerance as well as continuing to increase oil articles.

He explained major innovations in ailment resistance have presently been created in meals-quality peanut versions, these as resistance to nematodes from wild species, Sclerotinia blight and tomato spotted wilt virus. These qualities can now be integrated into the “diesel nut” lines to build a strong renewable gas feedstock.

“With our edible breeding traces, we have also been wanting at drought tolerance, but not on any of the traces creating greater oil,” Cason reported. “Now we’ve pulled all the things out and started off planting in Vernon and Stephenville and will develop some underneath dryland and irrigation. We are managing this year as sort of a pilot calendar year.”

West Texas starts the peanut-planting season in late April and early Could, whilst in South Texas, peanuts are planted as late as June 25. Harvest starts in October and is completed by Thanksgiving.

A peanut crop typically needs 27 inches of dampness from irrigation and rain. This typically creates about 5,000 kilos per acre of higher-high-quality peanuts. In distinction, the drought-tolerant investigation at Lubbock researching peanut generation with only 7-12 inches of rain made about 2,800 lbs of edible peanuts per acre in 2020.

“One detail that will aid the ‘diesel nut’ be successful is that when you really don’t irrigate a peanut, you run the risk of aflatoxin, which can be devastating to food stuff-quality peanuts,” Cason stated. “But that won’t issue when the crop is getting crushed for biofuel, so irrespective of how considerably humidity, if the grower can increase a thing, they can current market it.”

The target now is to adapt “diesel nut” traces to new developing areas across Texas and the U.S. the place the crop can accomplish beneath confined irrigation and dryland production. This, coupled with the development of very best administration tactics for crop production programs and the logistics of harvest, transport and storage will be necessary to promptly advance the manufacturing of renewable diesel feedstocks.

Other Venture Parts

A large contingent of Texas A&M AgriLife personnel will be doing work on the project, like agronomists, breeders, plant microbiologists, crop physiologists, biochemists, soil experts, economists and crop modelers in Higher education Station and at multiple Texas A&M AgriLife Analysis and Extension Facilities in essential peanut production areas of the Rolling Plains, South Plains and South Texas.

Although Cason and the breeding crew are establishing breeding traces, Ribera will direct the progress of chance-primarily based, extensive organization budgets concentrated on the peanuts’ oil generate, trustworthiness and viability as a renewable diesel feedstock.

With that objective, Ribera’s group will include modelers who will assess transportation, shelling and crushing infrastructure as well as regulatory constraints to arrive up with the baseline carbon intensity.

“When looking at a renewable gasoline source, each and every vitality enter into the manufacturing and processing of the peanuts right up until the gas reaches the pumps will be critical to deciding the carbon depth,” Baltensperger said. “We appear at strength in for electricity out and which is most carbon thoughtful. We want the carbon intensity baseline to be as lower as possible if we are to enhance peanuts wherever it still helps make perception to produce oil for fuel.”

McCutchen claimed this venture could bring peanut generation again to spots that previously grew the crop but ran out of drinking water. The agronomic aspect of the job will focus on peanut strains that can be grown on marginal lands and even now give large for each-acre vegetable oil yields.

  • The crew of cropping program experts will also produce cropping techniques that enhance progress, harvest and yield for “diesel nuts.” They will assess conservation tillage, as study in peanut-manufacturing areas of Texas has revealed that soil natural carbon amplified by combining conservation tillage with address crops.
  • Rotational methods, protect crops, tillage and fertilizer techniques will be evaluated underneath dryland and restricted irrigation to build a cropping system with the cheapest probable carbon footprint. Higher-throughput greenhouse assays will be utilized to obtain novel endophytes, which will be crucial for advertising and marketing drought tolerance and in general plant well being.
  • When adequate data is accessible and developments are produced, Emi Kimura, AgriLife Extension point out peanut expert, Vernon, will guide the outreach to inform producers about the exploration outcomes.

“The stop goal of this challenge is the commercialization of elite superior-oil versions that producers can plant and oil that Chevron can use,” explained Carl Muntean, director of Texas A&M AgriLife Company Engagement and Exploration Assist.