How Vegetable Oils Can Be Alternative Fuel Sources for Cooking and Lighting?


Definition of Vegetable Oils

Vegetable oil with light-yellow color

Vegetable oils or vegetable fats are fats extracted from seeds, or less often, from other parts of fruits which are liquid at room temperature in normally light-yellow color. Animal fats, vegetable oils are mixtures of triglycerides. Soybean oil, rapeseed oil or cocoa butter are examples of fats from seeds. Olive oil, Palm oil or rice bran oil are examples of fats from other parts of fruits.

Vegetable oils was used thousands years ago at ancient times with many different culture. According to archaeologist Bob Mc McCullough of Indian university – Purdue University Fort Wayne, oil extracted from plants has found in a 4,000 –year-old kitchen near the Indiana’s Charles Town State Park. Large slabs of rock were used to crush hickory nuts and the oil was extracted with boiling water. The Archaeological evidence also shows that olives were turned in olive oil by 6,000 BC and 4,500 BC in Israel and Palestine

Demand for Vegetable Oils

Besides its’ uses as ingredients in food, industrial needs, Vegetable oils still take important responsibilities in providing fuels as alternative fuel sources.  

Demanding for fuels is increasing as the result of rapid development for modern society, especially in remote and untouched areas in developing countries. Concerns have been expressed about growing crops for fuel use rather than food and the environment impacts of large-scale agriculture and land clearing required to expand production of vegetable oil for fuel use.  Along with solar energy, wind power, fusion power, nuclear power, methanol fuels,… Vegetable oil and bio-diesel could pay an important part in the future.

Environment Concerns

Deforestation due to cutting down trees for woods

Plants use sunlight and photosynthesis to take carbon-dioxide (CO2) out of the Earth’s atmosphere to make vegetable oil.The same CO2 is then put back after it is burned in an machine.Therefore vegetable oil does not increase the CO2 in the atmosphere,and not directly contribute to greenhouse gas issue.  

Portable stove is widely used for cooking food and heat,especially in remote and untouched areas. Existing portable stoves typically require propane, gas, charcoal or some other combustible material to provide enough heat to cook food. These combustible materials produce large amounts of undesirable byproducts, such as carbon monoxides.

Wood burning stoves have become increasingly popular in developing area. These types of stoves require trees to be chopped down in order to produce enough wood which increases deforestation. The vegetable oil allow to extract oil from seeds, nuts or parts of fruits of a living plant during a harvest period without requiring to chop trees down.That contribute to maintain the forests and reduce degradation as well as deforestation.

Safety for Users

Vegetable oils could be used for lighting

Vegetable oil is far less toxic than other fuel such as gasoline,petroleum-based diesel, ethanol or methanol, and has a much higher flash point(approximately 275-290 oC). The higher flash point reduces the risk accidental ignitions when burning. There are a lot of unfortunate accidents due to gasoline, propane, even wood fire. Using vegetable oil for cooking and fuels for vehicles is considerably safer than others.

Stability for Cooking and Lighting

Stoves with vegetable oil have stable fire with big flame that helps cook quickly. The vegetable oil also ensures its duration during cooking, then helps household save time requirement.

Vegetable oil is one of ideal alternative fuels that can adapt requirements of society. Compared with other fuels, it has some highlight advantages as safety for user, stability when cooking, help restrict environment issues. As predication, demand for vegetable oil would increase in not distance future.

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