25 September 1998

Bio-oil does well in US

GROWING oilseed rape for use as a motor lubricant could be more viable than using it as a diesel substitute.

US farmers are already now growing BioOil, an environmentally-friendly substitute for petroleum-based oils, after development work by Duane Johnson of Colorado State University. The oil is now patented in several countries, including Europe.

Wisconsin and Michigan state governments are considering using BioOil in state-owned vehicles. An estimated 81,000ha (200,000 acres) of rapeseed would be needed to supply motor oil for Wisconsins fleet of state vehicles alone.

The oil is also gaining commercial acceptance, and will be available to consumers in the Michigan area early next year.

BioOil is a good lubricant and cuts pollution. "We are seeing a reduction in hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide emissions of 32% and 28%, respectively," says Mr Johnson. Although it will cost a little more than petroleum-based motor oils, consumers wont face disposal costs, BioOil being 100% recyclable.

Growing rape for lubricating oil, such as BioOil, could be more attractive than bio-diesel, admits David Hamilton of Farmway, part of British Bio-Diesel. The technology is available to run a car for a year using bio-diesel produced from 0.4ha (1 acre) of oilseed rape, he says. But fuel duty means it is not viable economically. &#42