With the price of gas going through the roof, there's been a lot of interest in alternative fuel supplies. For instance, various schemes to use water as a fuel have been getting renewed interest. But a new idea (at least, new to me) is the Diesel Tree. This is a tree that directly produces diesel fuel. All you have to do is tap the tree (just as you would tap a maple tree for its syrup), then fill up your tank with the oil, and you're good to go. From treehugger.com
the Brazilian Copaifera langsdorfii, to use its botanical name, can be tapped not unlike a rubber tree, but instead of yielding rubbery latex it gives up a natural diesel. According to the nurseryman selling the trees, one hectare will yield about 12,000 litres annually.
Once filtered—-no complex refining required, apparently—-it can be placed straight into a diesel tractor or truck. We read that a single Copaifera langsdorfii will continue to produce fuel oil for an impressive 70 years, with the only negative being that its particular form of diesel needs to be used within three months of extraction.
You can also check out this video
on YouTube in which an Australian farmer who's growing Diesel Trees is interviewed. He admits it "sounds like a fanciful concept," but insists it's real. There are also articles in the Sydney Morning Herald
As odd as the idea sounds, Diesel Trees do appear to be real. Here's the wikipedia article
about them. They simply produce a plant oil pure enough that diesel engines can run on it. The Alaska Science Forum
Though not likely to become a significant source of diesel fuel in temperate climates, in the tropics Cobaifera plantations might produce as much as 25 barrels of fuel per year. Still, Cobaifera relatives in the same genus, Euphorbia, are producing 10 barrels per acre in northern California.
It would be pretty cool to be able to fill up your car directly from a tree in your backyard.(via geoisla
For a farm one or two acres would substantially offset the annual fuel costs.