Biofuel made from pennycress seeds, “could end up in your tank, if you drive a diesel powered car or truck,” said Jerry Steiner, the chief executive of the two-year-old plant science startup Arvegenix. “We clearly could also make jet fuel, and provide the feedstock for some bio-based lubricants as well.” That’s why some U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers have been touting pennycress as it champions new biofuel choices.
But for that to happen, pennycress must first be domesticated. That is, turned into a viable commodity crop for farmers. And that, said Steiner, “is what we aim to do.”
Launched in May of 2013, Arvegenix is focusing on the development, genetic improvement and commercialization of field pennycress. Earlier this year, Arvegenix received a boost when it earned a $100,000 equity investment from The Yield Lab, a new St. Louis-based agriculture technology accelerator program.