Another Possible Biofuel Source: Tree Seeds

Researchers say two trees commonly found in India produce seeds whose oils can be converted to a biodiesel that's on par with versions made from biomass or food crops.

What's the Latest Development?

A team of scientists in India claim that the seeds of native mahua and sal trees represent a vast untapped resource for producing biodiesel. They converted seed oils in the lab using a process involving alcohol and a catalyst, with a result that they say could be superior to biofuels created using vegetable seed oils due to its lower viscosity and greater volatility. Tree seed biofuel would also produce lower amounts of carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide emissions compared to other biofuels. The research was recently published in International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management.

What's the Big Idea?

Currently, according to the team, large amounts of mahua and sal tree seeds fall and are left to waste. Converting some of the millions of hectares of Indian forestland to plantations could provide the necessary biomass. One mahua tree has "an estimated productive lifespan of the mahua of 60 years [and] takes just ten years to reach seed-producing maturity." Ultimately, the goal is to "reduce [India's] dependence on crude oil imports, but also reduce the environmental impact of transportation and increase employment opportunities."

Photo Credit:

Read it at ScienceDaily

Related Articles

To save us, half of Earth needs to be given to animals

We're more dependent on them than we realize.

(Photo Lily on Unsplash)
Surprising Science
  • Scientists says our survival depends on biodiversity.
  • A natural climate strategy we often forget.
  • Seeing our place among the Earth's living creatures.
Keep reading Show less

New infographics show how cigarette smokers are socially penalized

There's a high social cost that comes with lighting up.

Sex & Relationships
  • The home improvement company Porch recently polled 1,009 people on their feelings about smoking.
  • The company recently published the results as infographics.
  • In terms of dating, 80 percent of nonsmokers find the habit a turnoff
Keep reading Show less

The "catch" to being on the keto diet

While short-term results are positive, there is mounting evidence against staying in ketosis for too long.

Brendan Hoffman / Getty
Surprising Science
  • Recent studies showed volunteers lost equal or more weight on high-carb, calorie-restricted diets than low-carb, calorie restricted diets.
  • There might be positive benefits to short-term usage of a ketogenic diet.
  • One dietician warns that the ketogenic diet could put diabetics at risk for diabetic ketoacidosis.
Keep reading Show less