Muscat: A public transport Green Bus, powered by biofuel, which is the first of its kind in the Arab world was launched on Monday, December 26, 2022. The fuel was made from date kernel oil by a research team at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU).
In an achievement that is the first of its kind in the Arab world, Sultan Qaboos University celebrated the launch of the first trip by the Oman National Transport Company "Mwasalat" bus, which is powered by diesel combined with biofuel produced in the laboratories of Sultan Qaboos University and extracted from date palm kernels.
The inauguration of the event was sponsored by His Highness Sayyid Dr. Fahad bin Al Julanda Al Said, President of the University, in the presence of His Excellency Eng. Khamis bin Mohammed Al Shamakhi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology for Transport, and a number of officials.
The journey started from the Sultan Qaboos University Cultural Center in Al Khoudh, which continued to Sultan Qaboos Street, the Al Alam Palace, and then back to the starting point.
His Highness the President of the University expressed his happiness with this achievement, pointing out that it translates the importance of cooperation and integration between scientific research institutions, and the government and private sectors in implementing this type of national initiative that achieves a number of strategic goals, including: upgrading the scientific research system in the Sultanate of Oman, and transforming knowledge into an economic return by finding solutions and alternatives to the challenges facing the economic sectors.
His Excellency the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology for Transport, said that this achievement coincides with the government's initiatives to shift towards renewable energy, as the transport sector represents a large part of the current carbon emissions, including public transport services operated by the Mwasalat company. Thus, this type of initiative contributes significantly to the carbon balance process.
His Excellency pointed out the importance of intensifying efforts and cooperation between higher education and scientific research institutions and the public and private sectors, to push for more of these national initiatives that will contribute to enabling the transport sector to achieve national goals and reach zero carbon neutrality by 2050.
The project also aims to produce biodiesel extracted from date kernel oil using an innovative recyclable chemical catalyst, thus reducing production costs and being commercially competitive.
The project started in 2015 with the aim of finding a new, highly efficient method to extract the largest amount of date kernel oil that can be used to power diesel engines in vehicles. The team was busy devising optimal solutions and finding appropriate methods to obtain the target composition of biodiesel in research laboratories.
The project will contribute to achieving zero carbon neutrality, finding renewable and sustainable sources that support creating opportunities for economic and social growth, and achieving a balance between sustainable development and limiting the consequences of climate change. In addition to benefiting from clean technology to achieve sustainable development, and to create a diverse mix of renewable energy sources based on providing energy needs in line with the indicators of Oman Vision 2040 .