Creative Commons/Ton Rulkens
Cairo – 28 February 2017: An Egyptian research team has successfully produced biofuel suitable for aviation from the seeds of a local desert plant, Science and Development Network
(Sci Dev Net) on Monday.
The team managed to extract and process oil from jatropha plants grown in the desert of Upper Egypt after successful semi-industrial experiments last December.
The Egyptian Ministry of Civil Aviation had commissioned Egypt’s
to find local biofuel capable of powering aircrafts to support the International Air Transport Association plan in cutting aviation emissions by 2050.
Khaled Fouad, a researcher in the field of aeronautical engineering at Zagazig University in Egypt, told Sci Dev Net, “[The jatropha plant] is a unique source of biofuels.” However, he pointed out the high production cost as a serious challenge. “Globally, the lowest price of biofuel is 90 per cent higher than that of the average fuel; this is due to the high cost of the materials needed for the manufacture of biofuel," Fouad said.
tested a “50-50 blend of oil from jatropha plants and standard A1 jet fuel” for the first time in 2008. Previous experiments by Boeing and Virgin Atlantic had tested other biofuel mixtures of palm and coconut oil.
were fond of the idea at a time when oil prices were drastically increasing, until the 2008 financial crisis halted many projects.
The Egyptian team is trying to address the cost problem by devising a new production method.
The team is hoping to finalize the experiments and introduce the local aviation biofuel for manufacturing by the end of 2017.