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Iran researchers make biodiesel from weed

10 August 2015 19:11


Iranian researchers have produced biodiesel from the flixweed crop as a potential renewable energy substitute for non-renewable fossil fuels.

Under a project to deliver a new generation of green transport fuel, researches at the Islamic Azad University produced 2 liters of biomass with a capacity to turn into a biofuel.

“Engine and field tests of the synthetic green fuel are currently being evaluated,” Mehdi Alami, an analytical chemistry graduate of the Islamic Azad University said.

He said they had selected flixweed as an oilseed crop for fuel production because it needs few inputs to grow. It needs no cultivation, attention, herbicides and irrigation.

Moreover, the plant grows in various climates and is non-edible, making it an ideal choice given the fuel-versus-food debate weighing on the viability of biofuels.

Flixweed is known by other names. Also called herb-Sophia and tansy mustard, it is a member of mustard family like the oilseed crop, canola.

Alami said their experiments with the crop revealed it contained 22% of oil and a fatty acid composition which makes it apt for being turned into a biofuel and biodiesel.

Their experiments also led them to discover oxygenated chemical components in flixweed biomass.

“This issue is important because the atomic oxygen in the fuel of a car directly cuts exhaust and the dangerous carbon monoxide and cancerous particles suspended in air,” Alami added.

The sulfur rate in biodiesel is also 500 times less than the diesel used in Iranian cars.


Alami said biofuels will make up five percent of the overall transport fuels by 2030. Europe, he said, currently produces more than 90% of the world’s biodiesel.

“The European Union has required its members to source 10% of their transport fuels from biofuels by 2030,” he said.

Air pollution is a major problem of Iran’s major cities because of the fuel-guzzling cars which ply the streets.

In June, Iran Khodro signed an agreement with two local universities to produce hybrid and electric cars, with the first models expected to roll down the production line in the next three years.

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