Muscat – With an aim to achieve zero carbon neutrality and finding renewable and sustainable sources of energy, a research team from the Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) succeeded in running a public transport bus powered by biofuel, a first of its kind initiative in Oman.
SQU, in cooperation with the National Transport Company (Mwasalat), on Monday took the ‘Green Bus’ around the city, marking a successful real-world testing of the project.
The biodiesel engineered by the SQU research team is mixed with oil extracts from date palm seeds, making it a greener fuel than the conventional diesel.
The Green Bus project is part of an agreement between SQU and Mwasalat under which the SQU research team will be using one of the Mwasalat buses for testing in order to assess the quality of biodiesel in addition to providing technical support, exchanging technical expertise and implementing a number of related initiatives together with the transporter.
The inauguration of the Green Bus was held under the patronage of H H Sayyid Dr Fahad bin al Julanda al Said, Vice-Chancellor of SQU.
The trip started from the Sultan Qaboos University Cultural Centre in Al Khoudh and ran through the Sultan Qaboos Street to reach the Al Alam Palace, before returning back to the starting point.
“The project reflects the importance of cooperation and coordination among scientific research institutions, the government and private sectors in implementing this type of national initiative seeking to achieve a number of strategic goals,” H H Dr Said asserted.
Elaborating on the details, he said that the project aims to produce biodiesel by mixing extracts from date seeds using an innovative recyclable chemical catalyst, to reduce the production costs so as to make it commercially viable.
“The project will contribute to achieving zero carbon neutrality, finding renewable and sustainable sources of energy and support creating opportunities for economic and social growth, besides helping to achieve sustainable development and limiting the consequences of the climate change.”
The SQU research team has also obtained funding from the Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) to work on the second phase of the project to produce 100 litres of biodiesel, in addition to conducting further experiments to produce glycerol, solketal, and other similar compounds to raise the economic value of the project.
The research project is led by a SQU scientific team involving Dr Lamia bint Adnan al Hajj, associate professor in the College of Science, and Professor Dr Alaa Hamid al Muhtasib, Deputy Director of the Sustainable Energy Research Centre at the university.