The oil mallee project: A multifaceted industrial ecology case study
Barton, A. (1999) The oil mallee project: A multifaceted industrial ecology case study. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 3 (2-3). pp. 161-176.
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The planting on degraded agricultural lands of eucalypts for leaf oil provides a commercial incentive for restoring original vegetation; a sustainable method of controlling groundwater and salinity; a product that is an environmentally benign substitute for a widely used solvent damaging to the ozone layer; and a mechanism for reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. With integrated tree crop systems and improved harvesting and processing technologies, the Western Australian wheatbelt could produce large volumes of high-cineole eucalyptus oil from mallee eucalypts. With new industrial markets, a scale of planting could be achieved that would result in substantial land rehabilitation benefits. Industrial solvent markets are large and currently in transition following the recent withdrawal of 1,1,1-trichloroethane as a result of international measures to control ozone depletion. There is a strong preference in these markets for “natural” replacement products. Although large-scale penetration of these markets would need prices about half those prevailing in traditional eucalyptus oil markets, this goal should be achievable with the potential for economies of scale, genetic advances, and improved harvesting and processing technologies.
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