Doing Research on Alternative crops
2:16 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

WIU Ag Professor to Study in Germany

A Western Illinois University Ag professor has spent the last several years researching new crops for use as biofuels. Soon he will taking that expertise overseas.

Doctor Win Phippen specializes in researching alternative crops. He’s spent the past four years studying pennycress.

Dr. Win Phippen at a pennycress field day at the WIU research farm on 6-6-2013
Dr. Win Phippen at a pennycress field day at the WIU research farm on 6-6-2013
Credit SSS

In the US it’s being looked as sort of secondary crop, to be planted in winter and turned into biodiesel.
Phippen has been invited to visit Luneberg University in Germany this September to do research on growing pennycress as a primary, cash crop.

"They've create this bio-energy center and looking at oils seeds as a rotational crop is just one of their, they're looking at other crops like camelina, some of the winter canola lines, and the pennycress as viable fuel option," Phippen said.

He says the crop does very well in cold environments and since Germany has a cooler climate it would do well there.

Part of the research will be whether German farmers have the proper equipment to grow and harvest pennycress.

Phippen says the Germans are also looking at using pennycress not just for bio-diesel but for aviation fuel. Germany has a set a goal of getting 30-percent of its energy from renewable sources by the year 2020.