15 März 2004

Scientists claim development of biological “diesel oil”

BEIJING, March 12 (Xinhuanet) – Chinese scientists said Friday they have developed an environment-friendly fuel oil similar to diesel oil from shrub fruits, and experiments show that are applicable to various types of existing diesel engines.

Chen Fang, president of Life Science Institute of Sichuan University based in southwest China’s Sichuan province, said the clean oil is better than China’s best diesel oil, No. Zero, in major performance, such as freezing point, sulfur content and the amount of carbon monoxide emission. The emission of the oil is up to the Euro II standards, Chen said, adding that they will make it up to the Euro III emission standards in “two years”. “By conservative estimation, we are confident in making it in two years,” said the president, a deputy to the National People’s Congress, the national legislature.

The oil was extracted from the dried fruits of Physic Nut (Jatropha, Curcas), whose oil-bearing rate stands at about 60 percent, more than that of rape seed and soybean. Chen, a botany doctorate, said his institute plans to manufacture the biological oil in cooperation with the corporate world for commercial production of the new oil. “We anticipate the production capacity will reach 20,000 tons next year.”

According to Chen, the shrub fruits have long been used along with firewood in the Yi ethnic community in the Jinsha River Valley in southwest China. The per-hectare yield of the dried fruits in the valley is 9,750 kg, from which 2,700 kg of fuel oil can be extracted. Chen and his colleagues have begun to collect different speciesof physic nut across the world to set up a gene bank on the plant, which grows easily in tough natural conditions and can be planted in arid areas for afforestation. Their research program was listed on the action plan for western China for 2001-2005, and a total of more than 1 million yuan (120,000 US dollars) has been injected into the program to date, Chen said.

China has been looking for new energy resources as alternatives to fossil oil and coal, while increasing oil imports to fuel its rapid economic growth. The country’s oil consumption totaled 252.31 million tons in 2003, up 10.15 percent from the previous year; and its oil imports jumped 31.29 percent to over 91 million tons. It is predicted that China’s oil demand may surge to 300 million tons by 2010.

Source: China View vom 2004-03-12.

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