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Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Egyptian scientists produce jet fuel from jatropha plants

Researchers at Egypt’s National Research Centre (NRC) have produced a biofuel suitable for aeroplanes using jatropha plants grown in desert with sewage water, SciDev reported. The NRC was commissioned officially by the Civil Aviation Ministry to find a local biofuel to power planes as part of the International Air Transport Association plan to halve carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. “Khaled Fouad, a researcher Zagazig University in Egypt, sees a fundamental advantage in the production of biofuels from jatropha seed oil,” according to SciDev. He says: “it is a non-edible tree for humans and animals, which grows in sandy desert soil and gets irrigated by sewage water.”

The challenge is the fuel’s high cost of production, Fouad explains, but researches are already working to reduce the fuel’s production cost. However, we still need to temper our expectations as this is not a novel discovery: Air New Zealand has already conducted a flight test successfully using a 50-50 blend of oil from jatropha plants and standard A1 jet fuel in 2008. By 2012, NPR had published a report claiming the dreams of biofuel from jatropha had come “crashing down.”

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