A Primer on Biodiesel

Biodiesel is a clean burning alternative fuel produced from domestic, renewable resources. This biofuel is a mixture of fatty acid alkyl esters made from vegetable oils, animal fats or recycled greases. Where available, biodiesel can be used in compression-ignition (diesel) engines in its pure form with little or no modifications. Biodiesel is simple to use, biodegradable, nontoxic, and essentially free of sulphur and aromatics. It is usually used as a petroleum diesel additive to reduce levels of particulates, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and toxics from diesel-powered vehicles. When used as an additive, the resulting diesel fuel may be called B5, B10 … Continue reading

Agricultural Biomass in MENA

Agriculture plays an important role in the economies of most of the countries in the Middle East and North Africa region.  Despite the fact that MENA is the most water-scarce and dry region in the world, many countries in the region, especially those around the Mediterranean Sea, are highly dependent on agriculture. The contribution of the agricultural sector to the overall economy varies significantly among countries in the region, ranging, for example, from about 3.2 percent in Saudi Arabia to 13.4 percent in Egypt.  Large scale irrigation coupled with mechanization has enabled extensive production of high-value cash crops, including fruits, … Continue reading

Role of Agricultural Sector in Harnessing Renewable Energy

The continuous rise in fossil energy prices, combined with climate change concerns and progress in renewable energy sector, has catalyzed interest in clean energy systems across the MENA region, especially in the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean region has abundant renewable resources, such as wind, solar, and biomass, which makes it a fertile zone for renewable energy developments. The agricultural sector has played a key role in the progress of renewable energy sector around the world as it provides large areas where renewable energy projects are built and is also the predominant feedstock source for biomass energy projects. For example, agricultural sector … Continue reading

Biofuels in Jordan: Perspectives

Jordan has good biofuels production potential in the form of crop residues, agro-industrial wastes and urban wastes. Biomass energy sector in Jordan is slowly, but steadily, developing. As per a recent World Bank report, the country is currently generating 3.5MW of power from biomass resources which represent 0.1% of the total energy demand in the country. However there is no available data on the amount of biofuels produced in Jordan. Jordan produces significant amount of biofuel feedstock in the form of lignocellulosic biomass, used cooking oil, animal tallow, agro-industrial wastes, industrial effluents etc.  In Jordan, transportation sector alone is responsible of 51% of final … Continue reading

Jatropha’s Relevance for MENA

Jatropha is a genus of nearly 175 species of shrubs, low-growing plants, and trees.  However, discussions of Jatropha as a biodiesel are actually means a particular species of the plant, Jatropha curcas. The plant is indigenous to parts of Central America, however it has spread to other tropical and subtropical regions in Africa and Asia. Jatropha curcas is a perennial shrub that, on average, grows approximately three to five meters in height. It has smooth grey bark with large and pale green leaves. The plant produces flowers and fruits are produced in winter or throughout the year depending on temperature … Continue reading