Castor bean cultivation in Sardinia – the first BIKE open lab

On the 6th of September 2022, the BIKE consortium partners gathered in Sardinia (Italy) to visit the pilot site of Marrubiu, operated by Eni and Bonifiche Ferraresi (BF) through the equal joint venture Agri-Energy. Eni identified this target area to develop a field case study to optimize agronomic practices aimed at optimizing the cultivation of drought-resistant crops, such as castor, in areas not suitable for food production (low-ILUC risk feedstock).

BIKE partners visiting the pilot site

Here, the cultivation of oil crops is undergoing over 29 fields divided in two parts. The land area considered was not cultivated before and is considered “degraded”. The goal now is to assess the crop performances under irrigation and with just rainfed.  

The pilot study contributes to creating know-how on castor bean cultivation on degraded lands. It also promotes sustainable practices for agri-feedstock production and land use. Moreover, it contributes to the territorial regeneration of marginal areas, creating new opportunities for farmers.

A combine harvesting the Castor bean crops in the pilot site

Castor oil coming from the castor beans cultivated in this way can be used for the production of Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil, falling in the definition of low-ILUC risk biofuel. These kinds of biofuels are considered by many to be the best available solution to decarbonize aviation and maritime shipping in the short-medium run.

Following the on-site visit to the fields, BIKE partners have gathered to discuss the latest project results and present a general update on the latest activities. The next open lab will take place in Greece at the end of September 2022.

The discussion between BIKE partners

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