DESERT CENTER – One pioneering farmer says he’s come up with a new way to fill up your gas tank, and he’s growing it at a local farm.
Handfuls of beans can soon be the future of energy. They come from Jatropha plants.
Once a machine presses the beans, the oil that comes out is collected in jars. It’s called biodiesel fuel. It’s clean and renewable. Now, farm tractors run on the oil from the Jatropha plants. It may soon be available at your local diesel fuel pump.
“Not only is Jatropha make the best biodiesel when it’s converted, but now it’s the best thing in a jet engine,” said farmer Mike Reardon.
Farming Biodiesel, Incorporated, FBI Farms for short, is at Desert Center, 50 miles east of Indio.
Reardon works here with the dedication of a man with a goal to grow his operation into a major player in the green energy field. That dedication means 18 hour work days.
Reardon hopes this is more than a future money maker; he sees this as part of a philosophy.
Little goes to waste here. Even the leftovers from the Jatropha bean crushing end up as food for the cows. Reardon even runs fish farms here in Desert Center, the water coming from the Desert’s giant underground aquifer.
“And the flow the water back through the field and run it to fertilize so it eliminates the petrochemical use,” explained Reardon.
Reardon explained his business philosophy as, “Recycling everything. That’s being green. One of the mottos here at FBI farms is you can’t call it green energy and produce hazardous waste.”
That abundant water is part of Reardon’s secret of growing Jatropha in the desert. He’s discovered that flooding it in water in this heat makes the plants grow quickly.
“This is the next step to get us off foreign oil and clean our air,” adds Reardon.