Imagine it as an answer to your high vehicle fuel bill.
Actually, says Joseph Fontenot, it’s not imagination, but reality wanting to happen.
Fontenot brief fellowing Eunice Kiwanis Club members this past Thursday on the Chinese tallow’s promise as the alternative energy America is searching for.
“An alternate energy source has to fit within the existing infrastructure,” Fontenot said, adding that biodiesel seems to have the best propects as an alternate to petroleum-based fuel.
Researchers looked hard as soybean oil as that source, but beans are too valuable in their other uses to make them an energy target.
He noted that the LSU Agricultural Center’s research centered on the chicken tree as scientists cast about for a viable option.
“Imagine all those gallons of fuel growing wild in our state alone,” he said.
Research soon revealed that the oil produced by the little white seed in the Chinese tallow’s pod burns clean in diesel engines.
“I’ve used it,” he told a surprised audience.
“Imagine. The common chicken tree might be the solution to our energy problem - a realistic, sustainable, long-term solution,” he said.
He said LSU researchers estimate a million acres planted in chicken trees would produce two billion gallons of biodiesel, at a cost of about 3 cents a gallon.
Biodiesel can be used directly in tractors, pumps, and other equipment with diesel engines.
In Louisiana alone, about 60 million gallons of diesel are used each year to plant and harvest crops.