chapter  14
Field Pennycress
A New Oilseed Crop for the Production of Biofuels, Lubricants, and High-Quality Proteins
Pages 32

Field pennycress has numerous positive attributes that make it a very promising industrial oilseed crop. Its short growing season is suitable as an off-season crop between corn and soybean production in most of the upper Midwestern United States. This allows the production of oil for industrial applications without disrupting the current crop rotation for growing commodity crops for food use. Substantial work has been done to improve its agronomic traits. A new pennycress cultivar with a high seed germination rate and improved plant stand establishment has been publicly released recently. Mechanical oil extraction from pennycress seeds can be accomplished with minimal seed conditioning, and good oil yields were achieved in a single pass through a screw press. Pennycress oil contains 60.6% monounsaturated fatty acids, of which 58.2% is erucic acid. An evaluation of the pennycress biodiesel and pennycress oil–E10 gasoline blend indicated that they have superior cold flow properties, which make these fuels adaptable most of the year in areas with colder climates. Pennycress estolide esters capped with saturated fatty acids have modest cold temperature properties, which could fill a specialty niche as a high-viscosity industrial lubricant. Pennycress seed proteins have excellent nutritional qualities and protein isolates obtained by saline extraction or acid precipitation have outstanding solubility, foaming, and emulsifying properties.