Cover crop Nuseed Carinata can be used to produce biofuels.

Image courtesy of Nuseed

Nuseed Carinata, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nufarm Limited, has been introduced and harvested by growers in Florida, Georgia, and Texas. The new cover crop is designed to increase the sustainable contract production of a non-food oilseed that can be processed like an oilseed into a certified and sustainable lower-carbon bioenergy feedstock and as a source of non-genetically modified meal for a traceable plant-based source of protein.

Nuseed says one of the main uses for its U.S. carinata production will be as a lower-carbon feedstock for biofuels such as biodiesel, renewable diesel, and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). North American marketing leader Roger Rotariu tells Processing Journal that Nuseed Carinata has been proven as a viable and valuable drop-in feedstock for biofuel producers, making it easily integrated for processing by existing bioenergy plants in the United States.

The company is also expanding commercial sales of Carinata in South America, where it is currently being commercially grown in Argentina between main crops on existing farmland. The crop is then processed into oil in Europe. Initial research and market development programs are also underway in Europe and Australia.

As a resilient hybrid cover crop, Rotariu explains, Nuseed Carinata grows well between many primary crop rotations such as cotton, corn, and soybeans. It can be grown between harvest and planting of main U.S. crops when cold weather limits primary crop production and farmland is typically exposed to erosion.

Nuseed Carinata does not require additional farmland, he adds, and the crop financially rewards sustainable farming practices that help maximize greenhouse gas reduction. Research and development work is continuing to advance Nuseed Carinata hybrids with a focus on even greater frost resilience, shorter maturity, and herbicide tolerance, he says.


Image courtesy of Nuseed

Three Differences

According to Rotariu, Nuseed Carinata is different than other biofuel feedstocks in three main ways:

  • It is inedible, not for human consumption, and is grown between primary crop rotations on existing farmland between main food crop harvests and the next season’s planting. Another plus is that its co-product is a source of traceable plant protein.
  • It can be independently certified as a sustainable crop and traced from the field to the oil processor. Because the production-to-processing chain is independently audited and certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials, growers can be rewarded for adopting certified sustainable farming practices.
  • It can capture and sequester carbon dioxide as it grows above ground and sequesters carbon through its leaves and extensive root system to regenerate soil health. It also can be used as a sustainable, lower- carbon feedstock for fuels that reduce carbon emissions by replacing petroleum-derived fuels.

Sustainability Growing

The need for sustainably grown and processed fuel sources is expected to grow because of government policies aimed at limiting carbon emissions that contribute to climate change and as more companies and industries commit to carbon reduction targets. In 2021, the International Air Trans-port Association adopted a resolution, “Net Zero Carbon by 2050,” calling for the increased use of SAF from 2% in 2025 to 65% in 2050.

Nuseed Carinata is already recognized as an SAF feedstock that can help the aviation industry decarbon ize, Rotariu notes, and the crop has the added benefit of being sustainably produced.

Nuseed Carinata is already recognized as an SAF feedstock that can help the aviation industry decarbonize, Rotariu notes, and the crop has the added benefit of being sustainably produced.