Cocklebur seed oil may become an alternative biodiesel source
11/29/2019 // Melissa Smith // Views

Biofuel is seen as a promising alternative to fossil fuels, and researchers continue to search for more plant-based biofuel sources. A study published in the Turkish Journal of Agriculture and Forestry suggested cocklebur (Xanthium strumarium L.) seed oil as a promising alternative biodiesel source.

Researchers from Bozok University in Turkey looked at the potential of cocklebur seed oil as an alternative biodiesel source. Cocklebur is an annual wild plant species commonly found in Brazil, China, India, Malaysia, North Africa and North America.

The researchers proposed cocklebur as a raw material for biodiesel production because of its low cost, high oil content and low acid degree. It also endures various climate and soil conditions, so dry areas would be used more productively.

For the study, the researchers collected cocklebur seeds and pressed them using a cold-press machine to obtain its crude oil. They got a maximum of 35 percent crude oil from the cocklebur seeds. In addition, they found that cocklebur seed oil contains 11.37 percent oleic acid and 76.97 percent linoleic acid.

They also measured important fuel properties such as density, flash point, water content, copper strip corrosion, iodine value, linolenic acid, methyl ester and sulfated ash content values in cocklebur seed oil. They found that the values of cocklebur seed oil in these properties were within standard ranges. In addition, the researchers found that cocklebur oil biodiesel could be used as a blending fuel for disease fuel because of its higher kinematic viscosity.


The researchers also conducted a cost analysis of cocklebur plant cultivation and compared it to other field crops. They found that the cultivation of cocklebur would be feasible and sustainable because of the plant’s ability to grown in dry areas. It is also more agriculturally profitable compared with other field crops grown in dry areas.

The researchers explained that the production of the cocklebur plant as an industrial plant may contribute to energy shortages without competing with food production. The use of biofuel produced from non-edible oils is strategic, especially when food shortage around the world is considered. Taken together, the researchers concluded that cocklebur is a promising alternative energy source. (Related: Renewable energy has doubled in the U.S. in the last decade; now generating nearly one-fifth of our electricity.)

Other alternatives to fossil fuels

Aside from plant-based biofuels, there are other alternative forms of energy available. They also offer lower emissions, reduced fuel prices and less pollution. Here are some of them:

  • Wind energy – From old-fashioned windmills to turbines as tall as skyscrapers, wind energy has come a long way. Turbines can be placed anywhere with high wind speeds, such as hilltops and open plains, or even offshore in open water. Wind energy turns a turbine’s blades, which feeds an electric generator and generates electricity. In many parts of the U.S., wind power has become the cheapest energy source.
  • Solar energy – This form of energy is the direct conversion of sunlight using panels or collectors. Solar energy generates electricity locally for homes and businesses. Solar energy systems do not produce air pollutants or greenhouse gases.
  • Hydroelectric power – Hydroelectric power is one of the largest renewable energy sources in the U.S. This form of energy relies on water, especially fast-moving water in a huge river or rapidly descending water from a high point. Hydroelectric plants convert that force of water into electricity by spinning a generator’s turbine blades.

Learn more about other alternative energy sources such as cocklebur seed oil at

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