By on July 15, 2008

New life, [sub] reports that China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has approved three biodiesel plants to convert tung tree nuts into fuel. For those in love with Google Earth, the plants will open in Nanchong (Sichuan province), Guizhou province and Beijing (Hainan province). The "demonstration projects" are set to yield just 50 – 60k tons of fuel per year apiece. To put that into perspective… "As a large diesel consumer, China's annual diesel consumption is about 70 million metric tons per year. Of this, about one-third of the consumption is from import. Based on the estimate of the International Energy Agency, China is the second largest petroleum consumer in the world and has a growing reliance on imported petroleum." Tung tree oil is a beloved sealant amongst kitchen remodelers and woodworkers. But don't get to thinking the U.S. could go cuckoo for tung nuts. Florida's experiment with the plants didn't pan out; vernicia fordii is now considered an invasive species. Oh, and even the smell of tung oil is enough to give nut-aversive people a severe reaction. The stuff we learn on your behalf…

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19 Comments on “China Builds Tung Tree Oil Biodiesel Plants...”

  • avatar

    Hmmm, Chinese mentality is written all over this one. As in several birds with one stone. A reduction in oil imports and reduction in population all in one fell swoop. (Presuming that people allergic to nuts will be falling like flies when the bus goes by with this stuff coming out the tailpipe).

    C’mon, these are the people who put anti-freeze in toothpaste, poison in foods, lead in paint for children’s toys and whose cars can’t manage 1970’s crash tests successfully never mind 2008 style crash tests successfully.

  • avatar

    Is it just me, or does Tung Oil sound dirty?

  • avatar

    menno: C’mon, these are the people who put anti-freeze in toothpaste, poison in foods, lead in paint for children’s toys and whose cars can’t manage 1970’s crash tests successfully never mind 2008 style crash tests successfully.

    While the Chinese are in some ways operating as the U.S. did in the 1960’s (safety? environment? what, me worry?), the increase in the quality of Chinese products has been dramatic. It took the West 100 years of industrialization to begin to look at the safety and environmental aspect consequences. China has turned into an industrialized nation in the last 40 years. My point is not to play cheerleader for China, but to suggest that they are a formidable economic force in the world and have a longer mercantile and trading history than any nation in the west.

    In Shanghai, they have installed a mag-lev train which travels at 400 kph; it is not a test track, but an operating train. The Chinese are a dedicated and industrious people and we would be wise not to underestimate their capabilities.

  • avatar

    I’m not underestimating their capabilities, edgett. I’m calling them on moral bankruptcy.

  • avatar

    Moral bankruptcy? I’d offer Mr. Farago’s jibe:

    Can’t they just get back to launching unnecessary wars, illegal phone taps and Alaskan bridges? You know, their core competencies.

    We’ve got a lot of glass in our house to be throwing stones at the Chinese… But their military invaded and is occupying another sovereign nation! And their produce contains e-coli! Let’s use corn to make ethanol!

    We should be proud that we have been world leaders in the establishment of environmental and safety standards that we enjoy today. At the same time, we shouldn’t forget the resistance to such standards we faced in our own country. So we don’t have a monopoly on “money first, environment or safety second”

  • avatar

    The USA meanwhile is tossing about a billion gallons worth of potential fuel into landfills. The amount of fryer oil we produce is amazing… every restaurant and bar in America produces enough waste oil to drive a car or truck all year without a drop of petroleum. What do we do with it? Pour most of it on the ground, some of it into pigs (yummy bacon!), and a miniscule amount of it into engines.

    Go figure… and keep eating those fries!


  • avatar

    Love the smell of tung oil finisher. Back when we were refinishing antiques I used gallons of the stuff.

    It’s about time the US (9% approval) Congress gets off their butts and allow domestic production of what we have here in abundance: Coal, oil and wind (heard that the US is the Saudi of wind).

  • avatar

    I loved Robert’s comments too, edgett. If you read enough of my comments around here, you’ll know I’m equal in my scorn for pretty well all of the governments of scoundrels worldwide.

    It’s said that the biggest chance of being killed during the 20th century was at the hands of one’s own government.

    55 million under Stalin. 11 million under Hitler (a mere amateur in comparison to Stalin). The rape of Nanking and Shanghai by the Japanese. Pol Pot. The list goes on and on and on. A friend totted up the totals since 1812 or so and came up with about a hundred million.

    The American government (and Canadian and British and Australian and New Zealand) at least aren’t particularly high on that list of shame. Yet.

  • avatar

    I’m just “nuts” for Mao Tse Tung oil…

    (cue jingle)

    “Mao Tse Tung Oil… come from China.
    Mao Tse Tung Oil, nothing fine-a!

  • avatar


    The Chinese paid Transrapid (Siemens + ThyssenKrupp) a lot of money to build that Maglev train. My understanding was that there was a technology transfer as part of that agreement as well.

  • avatar

    rm: The Chinese paid Transrapid (Siemens + ThyssenKrupp) a lot of money to build that Maglev train.

    The point was that they did fund it. Of course, their “defense” budget is $590 billion less than ours (about one sixth of what the U.S. spends), so they can afford such frivolous expenditures as R&D for public transit and unusual bio-fuels. It’s possible that the Chinese are sneaky enough to believe that economic power and energy independence are equivalent to military spending in the realm of national security.

    One way or the other, that maglev is one amazing piece of technology. I found it just a little sad that it was manufactured by Germans and installed in China. We used to do these kinds of things in the U.S., but we’re on our way to not building much at all here save the odd Wal-Mart or Taco Bell.

  • avatar

    WildBill”It’s about time the US (9% approval) Congress gets off their butts and allow domestic production of what we have here in abundance: Coal, oil and wind (heard that the US is the Saudi of wind).”

    Bold emphasis mine.

    I hear the best place for wind is Washington, D.C…

    (sorry, couldn’t resist)

  • avatar


    That billion gallons a year is small compared to the roughly 150 billion gallons of gasoline we use annually in this country. Still, anything we can do to reduce purchases from the Middle East is worthwhile. (But don’t look at me to eat french fries. I consider them poison.)

  • avatar

    We can make all sorts of fun at them, look 40 yrs ago Rice coffins were being scorned at, now who arent we all eating our own words?

    A Truimph, Norton, BSA wouldn’t even see any Honda, Yammy on the radar screen or a threat at all. Suddenly they came with Electric start, reliabilty ( n0 need to heat up spark plugs inside the house , piston rings that seals) and whose laughing now?

  • avatar

    And on that mass-killer ranking, Mao is up there with Stalin.

    It’s beyond me how Lefties can see the US as the moral equivalent of the USSR or whatever “People’s Republic” they wish to excuse by asserting America is just as bad.

    TTAC needs a political snark filter. Let’s talk cars.

  • avatar

    It’s beyond me how the Right Wingnuts are so are so offended by Stalin and Mao, but funny how they never mention Hitler.

  • avatar

    Sadly, it’s not a ‘lefties’ vs ‘righties’ issue – it’s about the rule of law and what really constitutes “national security”. The Chinese, for all of their political flaws, appear to understand that national security includes a combination of a strong military, realistic energy policy and a healthy manufacturing base for all kinds of products, all of whom operate with the national interest at heart.

    We seem to have gotten to a point where decisions regarding the military, energy and manufacturing are made solely on the basis of what produces the highest profits for a relative few.

    The apparent terminal disease at GM, Ford and Chrysler has been to maximize short term profits at the expense of strategic positioning in the marketplace. We may be just as satisfied that the finest products in the world are not being produced in the U.S., but it seems sad that we are no longer creating the best engineers and scientists in the world. Enrollment at virtually all of our hard science and engineering universities is overwhelmingly warped toward Asian and Indian students while ours plot new ways to manipulate money to short term advantage.

    It is an issue which involves cars, as our country will be a poorer place when we have only Asian and European makes from which to choose. Companies from both cultures have made good long term choices about their product mix and are today reaping the benefits.

  • avatar

    Depending oil from foreign country wasnt bad enuf we need to depend our Air force tanker on foreign country, what if them Frogs didnt agree with what our guns are pointing at then we could have no air tankers at all.

    Here we have more Lawyers, accountants, MBAs here.
    But very few Engineers our design pretty soon will be very much behind too.

  • avatar

    Due to mounting pressure, the Air Force is reconsidering the air tanker project; Airbus might be out of the picture…

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