Could seeds of common trees found across India act as a new and sustainable feedstock for biofuel production? That's the question addressed by Sukumar Puhan of the GKM College of Engineering and Technology in Chennai and colleagues there and elsewhere. Writing in the International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management, they report that vast quantities of seeds from the deciduous mahua (Madhuca indica) and semi-deciduous sal (Shorea robusta) trees are simply left to rot on the forest floor. These seeds, rich in oils, could be converted to cleaner biofuels without recourse to planting fuel crop plants and exploiting fertile soil and water that could better be used to grow food. Biodiesel production from tree seeds in India will not only reduce the dependence on crude oil imports, but also reduce the environmental impact of transportation and increase employment opportunities, the team says.
Seeding biofuel idea