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Unmodified Vegetable Oil as an Automotive Fuel

Peder Jensen, IPTS
ESC-EEC-EAEC Brussels-Luxembourg, 1995-2004

Peder Jensen, IPTS

Issue: Vegetable oil has been considered as a potential automotive fuel since at least 1912 when Rudolf Diesel (inventor of the diesel engine) mentioned it in a patent application. Since the 1970s more dedicated work has been carried out on modifying diesel engines to adapt them to run on unmodified or "straight" vegetable oil (SVO). This has proven that the concept works well. There are however a number of structural barriers to the success of this fuel in the market place which must be addressed if the fuel is to find a role in the fuel supply of the future.

Relevance: Europe is currently developing an alternative fuels policy aiming to diversify the fuel supply in order to increase the security of supply, while at the same time trying to limit CO2 emissions. A directive on promotion of biofuels for transport has just been passed and will form the basis for action. A key short to medium term strategy is to increase the share of biofuels in the fuel mix. As biofuel feedstock resources are limited, however, it is important to focus the use on sectors where the potential benefits are greatest.







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