by Elmar Stumpf, Werner Mühlbauer

Issue: 48

Journal section: General Article
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Received: 2010-08-12


Plant oils are a new alternative cooking fuel resource, providing a sustainable and independent cooking energy supply. Their use as cooking fuel can bring numerous benefits to both urban and rural communities in developing countries.

Avast variety of oil plants originate in the tropics and subtropics. Many oilbearing plants, whose oils are often toxic to human beings, grow on low grade land or in marginal locations, which are unsuitable for food crops. Some of these plants are cultivated on waste lands in order to prevent further erosion and to inhibit desertification. Use of these oils for energy provision will not compete with food production in any way. Examples of these oil plants are the Physic nut tree (Jatropha Curcas L.), the castor oil plant varieties (Ricinus communis L.) and the babassú
palm (Orbignya phalerata Mart.), among others. Some oil plants even grow in symbiosis with food plants and are used, for example, as shade trees.

In many regions of tropical and subtropical countries, traditional methods already exist for harvesting the fruits from the oil plants and extracting the oil. This local oil production strengthens decentralized supply, providing employment and income opportunities for the local population and ensuring sustainability. The presscake, a byproduct of the oil processing, can be used either as fodder or as high-quality
fertilizer. Utilizing this new energy source will therefore directly increase the living standard of the population.
In general, all plant oils which are liquid at ambient temperatures can be utilized as cooking fuel. They are biodegradable and handling is both simple and free of danger. Moreover, burning of plant oils is carbon dioxide neutral.

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Tags: BoilingPoint48    Biofuel    PlantOils    Improvedstoves   

031 Biofuels
010 Stoves 012 Cooking

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