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Energy balance and greenhouse gas emission of dryland Camelina as influenced by tillage and nitrogen – R. Keshavarz-Afshar, Y.A. Mohammed, and C. Chen. Energy 2015

Summary: In order to assess net energy gain and to identify energy saving and environmental friendly production operations, a two year study was conducted at central Montana. We investigated the effects of tillage method (CT (conventional tillage) vs. NT (no-tillage)) and N (nitrogen) fertilizer rate (0, 45, 90 kg N ha−1) on energy balance and GHG (greenhouse gas emission) of dryland camelina production. Results indicated that energy input and GHG emission were 5 and 8% lower in NT than in CT. Application of 45 and 90 kg N ha−1 increased camelina energy input by 186 and 365%, while increased energy output by only 21 and 64%, respectively. There was no significant difference in net energy gain in response to N fertilization, but lower energy efficiency in response to higher N inputs. Averaged across tillage systems, the GHG emission was 32.0 kg C eq ha−1 with 0 N applied, and the GHG emission increased by 206 and 389% when 45 and 90 kg N ha−1 was applied. Overall, N fertilizer had the biggest share in total energy input. Averaged over all experimental treatments, 14,945 MJ ha−1 net energy was obtained from camelina crop in this study which shows the potential of this crop as a bioenergy feedstock. Our result showed that implementation of NT is strongly recommendable for camelina production in this region. Moreover, improvement of N use efficiency has the highest priority to improve energy performance and reduce GHG emissions in camelina production.