The Icelandic Maritime Association has put forth the idea that Iceland take part in the production of canola oil for the purpose of making biodiesel and bolstering the economy.
Canola is processed from the seeds of the flower of the same name (shown above). The oil itself can be mixed with diesel to create biodiesel, which burns significantly cleaner than regular diesel. As Iceland depends heavily on its sailing industry, and ships run on diesel, using biodiesel could significantly reduce Iceland’s CO2 emissions.
There are other benefits, a research team assembled by the Icelandic Maritime Association concludes. For one, domestically grown canola would reduce by as much as one-third or more the amount of diesel Iceland needs to import. It would possibly reduce fuel costs for captains. Also, canola production is surprisingly inexpensive, with little overhead. The crushed seeds from which the oil is extracted can be used in livestock feed, and of course, the oil itself is used in cooking.
The research team believes domestic canola production would create jobs and generate revenue for the economy, with a return of three ISK for every crown invested. It being easy to grow, farmers could turn part or all of their existing property over to canola production. It is estimated that in order to provide for a tenth of Iceland’s fuel needs, 20,000 hectares of land would need to be devoted to canola production.