Fuel for thoughT

 
Published: Tuesday 15 October 1996

even as the scientific fraternity is investigating the effectiveness of the 'fuel-herb' discovered by an amateur inventor, researchers have identified eight different herbs capable of producing both diesel and petrol substitutes. As part of a programme initiated by the Indian Institute of Petroleum ( iip ) in Dehra Dun to find an alternative fuel, researchers studied 480 indigenous latex-producing plants and 74 resinous plants. The research has now narrowed down to eight species with the greatest potential.

Scientists at iip managed to get substantial amounts of liquefied fuel after conducting experiments on the biocrudes of some of these herbs using palladium nickel-tungsten base catalysts. The most promising herb was found to be Euphorbia antisyphilitica which yielded the maximum amount of liquid fuel releasing minimum amount of gases and coke as by-product. Detailed studies have also been carried out at the University of Rajasthan on methods to cultivate the herb and increase its biocrude output. n

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