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Diesel Trees
With the price of gas going through the roof, there's been a lot of interest in alternative fuel supplies. For instance, various schemes to use water as a fuel have been getting renewed interest. But a new idea (at least, new to me) is the Diesel Tree. This is a tree that directly produces diesel fuel. All you have to do is tap the tree (just as you would tap a maple tree for its syrup), then fill up your tank with the oil, and you're good to go. From treehugger.com:

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.

You can also check out this video on YouTube in which an Australian farmer who's growing Diesel Trees is interviewed. He admits it "sounds like a fanciful concept," but insists it's real. There are also articles in the Sydney Morning Herald and ABC.net.au.

As odd as the idea sounds, Diesel Trees do appear to be real. Here's the wikipedia article about them. They simply produce a plant oil pure enough that diesel engines can run on it. The Alaska Science Forum notes:
Though not likely to become a significant source of diesel fuel in temperate climates, in the tropics Cobaifera plantations might produce as much as 25 barrels of fuel per year. Still, Cobaifera relatives in the same genus, Euphorbia, are producing 10 barrels per acre in northern California.

It would be pretty cool to be able to fill up your car directly from a tree in your backyard.(via geoisla)
Categories: Exploration/TravelFree EnergyScience
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jun 06, 2008
Sadly, the plants don't grow well outside their native habitat, though as mentioned, the other ones do fine.
Posted by Robin Bobcat  in  Californian Wierdo  on  Fri Jun 06, 2008  at  08:05 PM
There are actually quite a few examples in nature of plants or animals that can produce hydrocarbons or hydrocarbon like substances that burn, can be used for motor fuel, etc. The catch which nobody here is mentioning is price. If this type of tree can be genetically tweaked to be more efficient, and grown en masse on diesel plantations, expect to see its products soon at a store near you.
Posted by Eric Gagen  in  Broussard LA  on  Wed Jun 18, 2008  at  01:39 PM
The trees produce about 40 liters annually (10.5 gallons). So assuming it gets the warmth and water it requires you can assume about 100 trees per acre which would produce about 1050 gallons (roughly). Or about 3 gallons a day per acre.

For a farm one or two acres would substantially offset the annual fuel costs.
Posted by Hugh  on  Sat Jul 19, 2008  at  05:24 PM
i don't agree with cutting down trees and making them an alternative fuel solution, water is much more abundant than trees, so i still prefer using HHO instead of diesel trees.
Posted by hydrogen cars  in  italy  on  Fri Nov 14, 2008  at  01:23 AM
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