Energy / Climate Change

December 12, 2003


Making Biodiesel Fuel from Sunflower Oil

Keywords: Climate Change Ecosystems / Biodiversity Local government Renewable Energy Transportation / Mobility University / Research institute 

A new system to make diesel fuel from sunflower oil is being developed by Professor Masatoshi Matsumura and his Biosystem Studies research team at Tsukuba University in partnership with Hikawa Town, Shimane Prefecture. At the Hikawa Sunflower Festival on August 17, 2003, they demonstrated the operation of a tractor fueled by sunflower oil.

About 800,000 sunflowers were grown on 15 hectares of former rice paddy land located in the vicinity of Izumo Airport in Hikawa. Sustainable agriculture can be achieved by extracting oil from sunflower seeds, using the oilcake as an ingredient in livestock feed, composting the leaves and roots, and using the stems as pulpwood.

The development and commercialization of plant-based biodiesel oil has been increasing because it can significantly reduce negative effects on human health and the environment and is expected to contribute to global warming prevention.

Noting that sunflower oil has a higher unsaturated fatty acid content compared with other plant-based oils such as rapeseed oil, Professor Matsumura and his team have developed a biodiesel oil production process in which the oil does not congeal even at minus 30 degrees Celsius. In future, they hope to expand the newly developed process nationally and internationally.

Posted: 2003/12/12 10:30:15 PM
Japanese version