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UPM tests Carinata as part of future feedstock development

UPM Biofuels is developing a new feedstock concept by growing Ethiopian mustard as a sequential crop in South America. The Carinata plant produces a non-edible oil suitable as a biofuels' feedstock and protein for animal feed.

Carinata field seeded in early May 2017 in Uruguay (photo courtesy UPM Biofuels).

UPM Biofuels, a business division within the Finland-headed forest industry major UPM has revealed that it is developing a new feedstock and growing concept in South America. The sequential cropping of Brassica carinata (Carinata) also known as “Ethiopian kale” or “Ethiopian mustard” enables contract farmers to take agricultural land into use outside the main cultivation period, in winter time, without compromising existing food production.

According to UPM, this does not cause any land use change, prevents erosion and improves soil quality. Furthermore, Carinata will provide additional income to local farmers, who do not normally have their fields in productive use during winter. In South America, UPM is growing and testing Carinata with third-party farmers in Uruguay and Brazil.

Brassica carinata is an oilseed crop specially designed for the sustainable production of biofuels. UPM has entered into a long-term agreement with Canada-based Agrisoma Biosciences Inc, a developer of Carinata that utilises non-GMO technologies to improve crop varieties.

Sustainable land use is UPM’s core competence. We are developing this sequential cropping concept with Carinata as it provides new feedstock solutions for low carbon biofuels without compromising existing food production, said Petri Kukkonen, Head of UPM Biofuels Development.

According to UPM, biofuels produced from carinata oil reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by over 70 percent compared to fossil fuels.

Exploring new feedstocks is part of UPM Biofuels’ long-term development. In addition to the Carinata concept, UPM studies waste and residue as well as wood-based feedstocks for biofuels, said Kukkonen adding that the project has no direct impact on the operations of UPM’s Lappeenranta Biorefinery in Finland.

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