The economic condition in the country is growing worse steadily and the fuel section is no exception. It seems like there is a price hike every other week that pushes prices to ever new heights.
One can get the magnitude of our dependence on foreign oil from the fact that our oil imports are expected to reach 6.5 billion dollars this year.
Tackling this issue head-on, the SCME (School of Chemical and Mechanical Engineering) school of NUST (National University of Engineering and Technology) has unveiled biodiesel made from the Jatropha plant.
Oil is extracted from the Jatropha plant seeds and processed to get the biodiesel. Here’s what makes this particular biodiesel special:
- The Jatropha plant is cultivable practically anywhere.
- One acre of Jatropha plant farms is sufficient to make 2000 liters of biodiesel.
- The biodiesel is clean burning and the process inherently removes a lot of impurities.
The price to make a liter of biodiesel is Rs. 25. Compare that to the current prices and one can realize the importance as well as the potential of this breakthrough. As for the fuel standing the test of real world use, most generators and vehicles in NUST are already running on the biodiesel with no issues at all.
As well as pioneering this practically implementable technology, NUST has maintained a model farm that covers an area of 15 acres for Jatropha cultivation. Keeping in mind the enormous potential of this project, half a million Jatropha trees have already been planted with plans to plant 4-5 million trees this year.
Projects like these show that there is no lack of talent in our country and there are people who can tackle the very issues our country is facing right now.
If the potential of this breakthrough is fully utilized by the government (through large scale production), it could result in a significant decrease in our oil import bill as well as give our people a relief from the rising fuel prices.
The ball is in the government’s court now. Let’s see how they deal with it.