Capitol Corridor
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Posts Tagged: Stephen Kaffka

Castor oil makes a comeback

Ricinus communis, the castor plant. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons.)
Stephen Kaffka, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis, is field testing a variety of potential biofuel crops in California, including castor, wrote Harry Cline in Western Farm Press.

Among the possibilities are canola, amelina, meadowfoam, sugar beets, sweet sorghum, sugar cane and switchgrass. Castor, however, is the only on with a yellow "Do Not Cross" tape circling the experimental plots. The warning stems from the fact that castor beans contain the potent toxin ricin. Ricin is a considered both a chemical and biological weapon, according to the article.

Cline wrote that researchers at Texas AgriLife Extension found castor to be drought and salt tolerant. Kaffka has trials in the San Joaquin Valley, Salinas, Imperial Valley and at UC Davis to verify the Texas work.

Kaffka told a field day audience at the West Side Research and Extension Center in Five Points that the oil crop is worth $3,000 to $5,000 per ton, thus the renewed interest in it as a crop with an oil market today in the U.S. and a future market for biofuel.

Posted on Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 10:05 AM
Tags: Castor (1), Stephen Kaffka (2)

Kaffka, partners awarded $2 million to develop biofuel

Steve Kaffka
The Biodiesel Industries of Ventura was awarded $2 million grant for research and development of biodiesel fuel, according to a report by Marjorie Hernandez of the Ventura County Star.

Biodiesel Industries has partnered with Stephen Kaffka, director of the California Biomass Collaborative and UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis.

Kaffka will conduct research to develop viable biofuel feedstocks at test plots at UC Davis and in Salinas, the Imperial Valley and Five Points in the Central Valley, according to the article.

Biodico President Russell Teall said, "The goal is to develop innovative solar cogeneration, anaerobic digestion and gasification. While Dr. Kaffka will look at the agronomics, Diener will take those results and use them in a larger context. We will be able to take biomass, which can be gasified and used to make heat and power that will provide a very clean form of combustion."

Teall said the project should start in June, with various equipment in place by August or September.

Posted on Monday, April 16, 2012 at 11:12 AM
  • Author: Jenny Wang

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