The manufacture and sale of biodiesel may soon be a reality in Iceland.
Eyjan reports that the energy company N1 has, for the past two years now, put tens of millions of crowns into the research and development of manufacturing biodiesel from canola oil.
N1 director Hermann Guðmundsson told RÚV that the next step is determining where it would be most beneficial to grow the flowers which produce the oil. “We see some exciting opportunities in the south of Iceland, as well as in Skagafjörður and Eyjafjörður, where there are large areas that would be prime for growing canola, in our estimation,” he said in part.
Biodiesel in this instance would be made by harvesting the flowers, pressing them into canola oil, and then blending this with regular diesel fuel, usually in a proportion of 5% canola oil with 95% diesel. It is possible however to increase the canola oil percentage for newer vehicles, and it is expected that the percentage will also increase with the technology.
Last February, research done by The Icelandic Maritime Association pointed out that as Iceland depends heavily on its sailing industry, and ships run on diesel, using biodiesel could significantly reduce Iceland’s CO2 emissions.
Other benefits include the fact that 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.