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Researchers Develop a Renewable and More Environmentally Friendly Plant-Based Fuel

At the University of Agder (UiA), scientists are collaborating with the University of Jaffna to come up with an eco-friendlier transportation fuel in Sri Lanka.

Researchers Develop a Renewable and More Environmentally Friendly Plant-Based Fuel.
The aim is to get the rickshaws at Sri Lanka to use a more environment friendly petrol. Image Credit:

There is a great demand for fuel in Sri Lanka. Our goal is to replace petrol with a more environmentally friendly solution.”

This was stated by Alfred Christy from the Department of Natural Sciences at UiA. He and his collaborator Souman Rudra from the Department of Engineering Sciences at UiA are uniting together with colleagues at the University of Jaffna to come up with a product that could be utilized in the engines of the common three-wheelers in Sri Lanka.

In Sri Lanka and neighboring countries, there are many motorized three-wheelers, also called rickshaws. From an environmental point of view, it is important to get the engines of these vehicles over to a more environmentally friendly fuel.

Alfred Christy, Department of Natural Sciences, University of Agder

Plant-Based Fuel

Renewable and more eco-friendly fuels are frequently known as biofuels and are made from biological materials.

The product that is being developed by the scientists is a plant-based oil mixture comprising castor oil and bioethanol. Bioethanol has been produced from corn or sugar cane, while castor oil is gained from the seeds of the castor plant and is extracted through cold pressing. The mixture has been referred to as “Casahol.”

What we see is that these two products together provide a lubricating oil with unique properties.

Alfred Christy, Department of Natural Sciences, University of Agder

Study collaborators at the University of Jaffna recently performed the first tests on a four-stroke motorcycle engine.

The biofuel burned completely, and the oil mixture provided the lubrication the engine needs so as to avoid damage. This makes us optimistic about the development,” added Christy.

Students will Come to UiA

Both Christy and Rudra are happy with the positive outcomes that have been achieved from the first phase of the project. In autumn, two students from Jaffna, Sri Lanka, will be joining UiA to continue their work on the biofuel project.

The students are already involved in the project in Sri Lanka and are coming here to explore it further.

Alfred Christy, Department of Natural Sciences, University of Agder

For around three months, the students will be at UiA. Christy and Rudra plan to study and test the oil mixture on several engines in Norway. Both lawnmowers and snowblowers in Norway consist of similar engines to the three-wheelers in Sri Lanka.

Collaboration Partners

When the students get back, they could transfer the skills and knowledge that they have obtained and the technique utilized and continue the testing on Sri Lanka’s rickshaws. Also, the goal of the project is to commercialize the product that has been developed. According to Christy, there are great opportunities for commercial collaborations.

Christy stated, “We are always looking for partnerships, both professional and commercial. After delivering good results early in the project, we also have something to present.”

The initial tests of the biofuel have been performed on an engine at the University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka.


Video Credit: University of Agder.

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