Thursday, 12 May 2016 21:29

TerViva Sustainable Tree Energy Project (STEP)

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TerViva Sustainable Tree Energy Project (STEP) Credit: Christina DesMarais

When you think of Hawaii, sugar cane and pineapples may come to mind. But TerViva CEO and Founder Naveen Sikka says more than 100,000 acres of cropland in the state now sit unused thanks to overseas competition for these crops. His idea is noble: Revitalize this land by planting hardy non-GMO Pongamia trees, which are native to Polynesia, can withstand harsh conditions other plants can't, such as soil salinity and low water levels, and produce seeds that yield nearly 10 times more oil per acre than soybeans. Not only can the oil be used to make biofuel that can help Hawaii move closer to energy independence, the seeds ΓÇö once removed of oil ΓÇö can be fodder for cattle.

TerViva has partnered with large players, such as US Sugar Corp. and Mosaic, and has signed with one of the largest U.S. agriculture operators to produce Pongamia on 10,000 acres.

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