Fossil fuels like petrol, natural gas and coal take thousands of years for formation but the man is using them in much faster rate. If they are used at the present rate, all the known global reserves may be lost for less than a century. So, to deal with it and with the tremendous development in science and technology, we are always seeking an alternate source of energy to reduce the use of fossil fuel.
One such result is petrocrops. Petrocrops are plants which yield petrol like substances called biodiesel/ biofuels. In the wake of petrol scarcity, biodiesel can be an alternative for fossil petrol. They can be mixed with fossil petrol to be used as fuel, hence reduce the use of it.
Energy can be generated from petrocrops either by direct combustion or gasification or by converting them to liquid fuels like biodiesel for use in vehicles.
Some of the benefits of petrocrops or biodiesel are as follows:
- They are biodegradable and completely non – toxic.
- They produces no net output of carbon in the form of carbon – dioxide.
- They are easy to use.
- They are renewable.
Some of the examples of petro – crops are:
- Milk weed (Calotropis procera)
- Gropher plant (Euphorbia lathyris)
- Milk bush (Euphorbia tirucalli)
There are many species of Euphorbia which yield fuel oil resembling crude oil.
Advantage of Euphorbia plants is that they can grow even in semi – arid lands and do not require irrigation and fertilisers for their growth.
Biodiesels are in use in different ways, like:
- A blend made of sunflower oil and diesel called sun oil, is widely used in diesel engines.
- Coconut oil is mixed with diesel to give blend, called cocodiesel, for use in diesel engine.