Camelina is an oil plant that can be cultivated in mixed fruit fields without reducing the harvest of food plants. DAW uses this highly sustainable raw material to manufacture varnishes for wooden building elements.

SUSTAINABILITY IS MORE THAN RENEWABLE RESOURCES

Renewable resources like oil plants for technical purposes typically compete with food production because the cropland area could also be used for food production instead. Cultivators have therefore to decide between growing for food production or for the non-food sector.

Hence, the paint and lacquers producer Deutsche Amphibolin-Werke von Robert Murjahn (DAW SE) and partners were searching for a raw material that is more than only renewable. The intention was to find a plant that doesn’t compete with food production.

MIXED FRUIT FIELDS

They found a solution called camelina – an oil plant that can be perfectly used for the production of varnishes and wood oils. Camelina and peas can be cultivated together at the same time on the same field without using additional cropland or having negative effects on the food production. Even better, peas and camelina create synergies: The pea tendrils wind around the camelina plants. The growing of the camelina plants uplifts the peas and facilitates the pea harvest significantly: The higher the peas are uplifted, the easier they can be harvested and the more pea crop is obtained.

The pea crop essentially stays the same in the mixed fruit fields compared to pure pea fields while in the former the farmers have a higher income per hectare. There are more than 40.000 ha of pea fields in Germany. In contrast, camelina is rare and appears on the “Red List of Threatened Domestic Agricultural Crops in Germany”. By converting pure pea fields into mixed fruit fields biodiversity is highly supported with the potential of a large-scale area effect.

Camelina is still blooming in June when the amount of flowers is typically low. As camelina is an important food source for bees and other pollinators there is a benefit for threatened pollinator species. On top, camelina suppresses unwanted weed, which means the amount of necessary pesticides can be lowered. Farmers and the ecological system benefit from that feature.

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WHAT IS CAMELINA USED FOR

Peas and camelina plants are harvested together in one step. Due to the size difference of peas and camelina seeds, the separation is done in a simple process. Subsequently, camelina seeds are pressed to an oil which is refined by Worlée – a partner and direct supplier of DAW. Finally, the binder is used as a component in wood care products such as varnishes and wood oils that increase the value and the lifetime of wooden building elements like facades, fences or terraces.