19 August 2007

J for Jojoba, J for Oil

Jojoba is often used for lotions and creams. Other times, it is applied as a lubricant. But for oil? Dr. Selim just ascertained it now.

"We have been studying the feasibility of the jojoba plant to produce a renewable fuel for almost 10 years now. Earlier than that, it was studied only for its agricultural potentials. But we found out that it can be used in diesel engines," he said. "Actually, we first published the results in 2003 in a scientific magazine after we had succeeded in 1997. We produced a version that would improve the process of producing fuel, and limit its viscosity, ignition temperature, density, and other physical and chemical properties within a certain range."

"With the natural gas as the main fuel, we tried using jojoba fuel in diesel engines during our experiment at the Mechanical Engineering Laboratory in the UAE University. And it had worked smoothly. It has even improved the performance of the engine. In this trial, I had ruled out the usage of diesel fuel because it only pollutes the air. Aside from the natural gas, the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) can also be an alternative."

"Jojoba has better properties than diesel fuel. Even when the engines are cold – a condition that could enfeeble an engine's function – it would still work with jojoba fuel. This fuel also produces less noise and less emissions of dangerous exhaustive gas. Also, from our experimental measurements, we found out that jojoba fuel is easier and faster to ignite than diesel, while its physical and chemical properties are comparable to the latter."

"The only drawback jojoba fuel has is that it could cost more than diesel. It really would require a large investment. But a good thing about this oil, about this plant is that it can be grown in a desert land. It doesn't require a special land or a special care. It can resist salinity and can thrive without much water. The plant, which has a life span of for 100 to 200 years, can also grow underground. Each jojoba seed or nut can contain about 50% of pure oil in terms of volume."

Last July 8-12, at the Summer Heat Transfer Conference in Vancouver, Canada organized by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Japanese Society of Mechanical Engineers, Dr. Selim will be presenting the other results that came from this research. "I looked at the exhaust emissions of the engines that used jojoba and natural gas, and jojoba and LPG. Then I looked at the performance of the engine, and I found out that jojoba would work more smoothly with natural gas and LPG than with diesel paired with the said components."

"My objective is to produce a renewable source of energy, reduce air pollution and put more demand to agriculture. I hope businessmen would recognize it soon because other than the fact that it needs a large investment, it is also good for engines and promising for the environment and economy."

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