Thailand's Scientist King Sees Future For Biodiesel

One palm tree can yield about 27 kilograms of palm oil per year, which even if planted at maximum available land will only produce enough energy to meet 15-20 percent of Thailand's diesel fuel needs.

Published: 27-Dec-2005

Sometime in the early 1980s, as Sumet Tantivejkul remembers it, His Majesty the King took his trusted aide aside and said that he wanted him to look into the feasibility of using palm oil as an alternative to diesel as an energy source.

According to Sumet, His Majesty wished to keep his request quiet at the time and asked that the research be conducted discreetly, noting that the need for an alternative fuel would be realized in the decades to come.

Today, more than 20 years later, the need for an alternative to petroleum-based energy is all too apparent and HM the King’s idea of using palm oil as an alternative substitute for diesel is now a reality. As His Majesty declared in his birthday address to the nation, "palm oil seems to be a viable substitute." He later went on to say that Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra "may have seen a royal car that runs on biodiesel, 100 percent of which is produced from palm oil. The exhaust smells good and doesn’t cause cancer."


The D1 Lola B2K is only capable of 200mph, some 15mph slower than its petrol-powered competitors, but Lola hopes that, as it will need fewer pit stops to refuel, it could be quick overall.

Enterprise purchased five Jeep Liberties outfitted with standard diesel engines that require no modifications to run on biodiesel, which it keeps filled with B20 biodiesel.


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