Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Diesel Tree

With the price of diesel skyrocketing (prompting independent truckers to strike yesterday), it’s interesting to note that Mother Nature has actually made a tree that produce natural diesel!

Treehugger has the story:

Australian farmers in the wet tropical region of North Queensland have bought over 20,000 of these so-called diesel trees. The intention is that in 15 or so years they’ll have their very own oil mine growing on their farmland.

Because, the Brazilian Copaifera langsdorfii, to use its botanical name, can be tapped not unlike a rubber tree, but instead of yielding rubbery latex it gives up a natural diesel. According to the nurseryman selling the trees, one hectare will yield about 12,000 litres annually.

Once filtered—no complex refining required, apparently—it can be placed straight into a diesel tractor or truck. We read that a single Copaifera langsdorfii will continue to produce fuel oil for an impressive 70 years, with the only negative being that its particular form of diesel needs to be used within three months of extraction.

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