Bahrain vehicles may soon run on vegetable oil
Manama, August 30, 2009
Cars and trucks in Bahrain could soon be running on used vegetable oil if a council gets its way.
Specialised companies from around the world are now being asked to submit proposals, which could include setting up a vegetable oil refining plant in Bahrain.
The plan involves offering used vegetable oil as a viable alternative to diesel and is being spearheaded by the Manama Municipal Council.
The move follows a visit by councillors to various states in the US and it is expected to be a cheaper and more environmentally friendly option for diesel engines.
One hope is that it would mean an end to the dumping of used cooking oil on the streets or down the drains.
'Many drains get blocked and doorsteps are flooded with waste vegetable oil because restaurants and households have no other use for it after cooking,' said council technical committee chairman Hameed Al Basri.
'Bahrain has taken a huge step in recycling and today there are a number of companies in the country that recycle different kinds of waste such as food, cans, glass and other materials, but so far nothing has been done to refine cooking oil.
'When we went to the US, we were fascinated with how vegetable oil is being refined and used again - and that is what encouraged us to do the same in Bahrain.'
In some countries, people are even refining their own cooking oil and using it to power their cars and Al Basri said most diesel-powered vehicles could be modified to run on used vegetable oil.
The scheme is already being operated commercially in the US. However, the refined cooking oil first has to be heated to the required temperature to liquefy it.
One solution involves equipping a vehicle with two fuel tanks - one for regular diesel fuel and the other for vegetable oil.
'The engine is started on diesel, switched over to vegetable oil as soon as it is warmed up and switched back to diesel shortly before being switched off to ensure that no vegetable oil remains in the engine or fuel lines when it is started from cold again,' said Al Basri.
He said vehicle modifications were relatively inexpensive to carry out.
'All of those enhancements would just cost $1,200 (BD453), but would hugely benefit users and the community - considering it is cost-saving and environmentally friendly.'
He said international specialists would soon be approached to come up with suggestions for establishing a vegetable oil refinery in Bahrain.
'We will study their proposals and according to that will open tenders for companies to come forward and bid for the project,' he said.
'The project is still in the early stages, but hopefully with the support of the concerned government bodies, we would be able to start within a year.'-TradeArabia News Service