10 Edible Biofuels

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4
Safflower
More safflower oil would have to be produced to make it practical for widespread use.
More safflower oil would have to be produced to make it practical for widespread use.
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Safflower is a plant with a long history of use, perhaps beginning when the yellow flowers and oil-containing seeds were used to dye the cloth wrapping used in ancient mummification processes. More modern applications of safflower include widespread use as a natural medicine in both Eastern and Western cultures. Likewise, the oil from safflower seeds is used as a more heart-healthy substitute for other cooking oils.

Safflower oil has a low gel point, making it an interesting oil to consider for biodiesel production. But widespread use of safflower as a fuel source may be limited by its popularity -- or lack thereof -- in the agricultural world. The 604,000 metric tons of safflower produced worldwide in 2004 are tiny compared to corn or soy production, and it's a sharp decrease from the 800,000 to 900,000 tons typically produced per year in the mid-90s. Adapting safflower harvests to meet biofuel demands would mean reversing this trend and producing significantly more of this ancient, multipurpose plant [source: Jimmerson].