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Diesel Tree (copaifera langsdorfii) - where can i get seeds or saplings?

 
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A tree that gives diesel and is also a nitrogen fixer? Yes please!

"tests have shown, he says, that the liquid can be placed directly in the fuel tank of a diesel-powered car"
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/duke_energy/Copaifera_langsdorfii.html

Anyone know how to get hold of seeds or saplings?
 
gardener
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In 2007 there was a nurseryman in Australia who managed to source some from Brazil, but it sounds like it wasn't easy:

Nunyara Wholesale Forestry Nursery owner Mike Jubow recently received his highly-anticipated diesel tree seeds from Brazil.

Mr Jubow had spent three years trying to buy the seeds, which grow into trees that can be tapped for fuel.

The 20kg shipment of seeds was finally released from Australian quarantine in early December.

...

Mr Jubow first heard about the diesel trees at a forestry convention several years ago and the idea of growing bio-fuel from an unlimited source sparked his interest.

After three years of persistence, he found a farmer in Brazil whose family had been growing the trees for 100 years who was willing to sell them.



Good luck!
 
Dan Boone
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Sometimes I allow myself to imagine that I am good with Google.

Here is a page from Brazil (in Portugese?) listing "produtos" (products?) in the category of "sementes nativas" (native seeds?) that include "Oleo-de-copaĆ­ba: Copaifera langsdorffii Desf." That's our boy.

At that link there is a phone number and a Google map and a postal address and a web contact form. What looks like the main page of the site says this when I run it through Google translate:

Company specializing in production and sales of seeds native and exotic , forest plug , fastest way to produce seedlings, and the innovative acorn live creative and fun way to restore nature.


The Florestando stresses the value of the environment, working for the preservation and conservation of biodiversity. We are dedicated to collecting native seeds for seedlings that meets the permanent preservation areas and legal reserves. We work with low-impact techniques, redemption of shares of . flora and multiplication of new forests with high diversity and genetic variability.



Allowing for a language barrier, these Floristando folks sound like our kind of people. I think that with some language help and an international method of payment, this might be a seed source.

I say again, good luck!
 
Steve Farmer
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Thanks Dan, looks like they might be able to help. I have Portuguese and Brazilian friends so easy enough to get an email or two translated.
 
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"Natives ... drill a 5 centimeter hole into the 1-meter thick trunk and put a bung into it. Every 6 months or so, they remove the bung and collect 15 to 20 liters of the hydrocarbon.

Please note the underlined areas. Let's assume you've got seeds in hand ready to plant. Just how long is it going to take to get a tree with a trunk a meter in diameter? Assuming you can get by with 20 liters of fuel per week, that means you'll need at least 25 of these 1 meter wide trees to provide you with a minimal supply other the course of a year. Maybe an acre of sunflowers would be more productive.
 
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An acre of sunflowers requires a lot more harvesting/processing work than is described for these trees, though... Though I assume there is at least some filtering and dewatering to do before you can use this oil, even if you don't go through the whole biodiesel making process...

Another article about that Aussie guy is claiming these trees will produce for 70 years, and provide 4800L per acre...

 
Steve Farmer
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Michael good point on the length of time before the trees produce "diesel" if biodiesel is the main aim. Plus it's kind of unproven as I haven't got any hard details on growth rates, water requirements and yields, and am quite dubious about the claim of being able to put it straight in the tank . I've read it takes 15-20 yrs for an australian diesel tree to be ready to produce at full capacity. In the canaries we have all year round sun and no winter to speak of. You can generally half the growing time for anything, I get peas in 40 days from planting seed and have had corn in 90 days. I have planted blackberry cuttings and had edible fruit within 5 months. I'm thinking with our weather and maybe an aeroponic setup for saplings we can get well under 10 yrs. Personally I am not needing a return on investment from biofuel what is more important is that I need nitrogen fixing trees, and if they produce diesel in 10 yrs (or 15 or 20) then that's a bonus. If after 3 yrs there's some sort of small tree I can drill a hole in and get half a cup of diesel to prove the concept then that would be great too.

 
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This tree is native only to the Amazon rain forest.
It might grow in parts of the American south.

Yields per mature tree are up to 53 liters (14 gal.)

 
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Doing my own research and using Wikipedia, a typical Diesel tree takes 20 years, though in another article it said it was a 15 year investment. That being said, if you start now and keep them in a greenhouse (as they are a tropical plant) at least you could be energy independent in 15 years when you know it will be worse than now.  Also the article I am posting below (that others have posted) tells that some trees only gave up 2.5l and some gave 60l, but the average is 40-45l. Something to take into consideration.

So while doing sunflower seed farms for now to keep the oil going, it will be less energy intensive to have trees later on as it takes nothing to tap the tree and filter it, vs using tractors to plant and harvest, then using 4 different machines to hull, crush, filter and finally convert into diesel. While these are small scale, it is added costs that have to be paid back in the money saved by making your own. Whereas, investing now and waiting you just have to push a cart to tap your future oil reserves.

Other places like malaysia and Thailand have been developing these trees for the backwater areas.

https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/56959/IPA-Diesel-Tree-Risk-Assessment.pdf
 
Dan Boone
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Updating this thread, there's now a place that claims to sell the seeds for this tree, although they are currently out of stock.  There's an email you could use to contact them to see if they plan to ever get back in stock, and a notifier you can sign up for to be notified in that happy event.
copaifera-langsdorffii-380x760.jpg
[Thumbnail for copaifera-langsdorffii-380x760.jpg]
 
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This looks like a good long-term choice for the tropics. I've seen many things grown well outside of their Zone, that will produce some leaf. But that doesn't mean we're going to get a useful crop. People grow bananas and olives here on Vancouver Island. Or at least they say they do. What I've seen are banana and Olive plants that give a bunch of leaf but failed to produce any useful amount of fruit. A few, keep them in green houses and do manage to get a taste. But the input costs are far too high.

I wonder if some people are headed down the same road with this tree, in hope of getting the same production that occurs in its native range.
 
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hm, i had no idea that copaiba oil could be used for that. Here in Brazil it's a medicinal or cosmetic product. Nobody is using it for energy (probably because of government obsession with sugarcane).
i read a bit and found that it naturally occurs across nearly all of brazil, in the regions from wet jungle and scorching oven to zone 9 or 10 ish. Also there is widespread cultivation in Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay, so there might be info out there about what kind of areas it grows well in.
 
Dale Hodgins
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It might be useful to know how production compares to oil palm.
 
Dan Boone
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Dale Hodgins wrote:I've seen many things grown well outside of their Zone, that will produce some leaf. But that doesn't mean we're going to get a useful crop. People grow bananas and olives here on Vancouver Island. Or at least they say they do. What I've seen are banana and Olive plants that give a bunch of leaf but failed to produce any useful amount of fruit. A few, keep them in green houses and do manage to get a taste. But the input costs are far too high.

I wonder if some people are headed down the same road with this tree, in hope of getting the same production that occurs in its native range.



Well, my interest in tending the thread to the extent I have was for the benefit of people who find themselves in a zone where the tree could be grown without extraordinary measures.  But as always, what people do with information is not necessarily what we might expect.

That said, I'm not sure the analogy to tropical fruit trees is 100% spot on.  I know from trying to grow tender flowering/fruiting plants indoors in winter under lights that it's much easier to get a plant to bulk up and produce vegetative matter under artificial conditions than it is to induce flowering and fruiting in useful quantities.  (Right now I have some pepper plants I am overwintering under lights; they are quite "happy" and have flowered and fruited, but the fruits are few, small, and stunted.  I don't care, because my only goal is to get the plants through alive until spring.)  So, in the case of a tree where you're tapping its sap, it's unclear to me that such a tree in a greenhouse, or a sun trap, or an engineered microclimate (the proverbial "lemons in Montana" holy grail situation) would be as difficult to work with as an actual fruit tree.  It might be at least somewhat more forgiving. Enough to change the underlying economics of growing tropical trees outside the tropics? It's not a challenge that inspires me, that's for sure. But I don't see it as being quite the same challenge as growing tropical fruit.
 
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