Biodiesel: A Solution to Energy Crisis in Pakistan
Pakistan is currently on the verge of an extreme energy crisis, with an energy demand of 84 Mtoe, and is increasing rapidly day by day(Khan et al., 2022)
  • What is Biodiesel?
  • Jatropha Curcas: Prospective Plant Candidate for Biodiesel Production
  • Biodiesel Production in Pakistan
  • Challenges and Solutions

Pakistan is currently on the verge of an extreme energy crisis, with an energy demand of 84 Mtoe, and is increasing rapidly day by day(Khan et al., 2022). The energy sector of Pakistan is dominated by the use of fossil fuels, which are continuously depleting, resulting in the import of about 8.1 million tons at more or less $9.4 billion per annum. As a developing country with an extensive population growth rate, such fossil fuels will be unable to meet the energy demands in the near future.

Therefore, the country is in dire need of renewable energy resources such as solar energy, wind energy, and biomass energy(Javed et al., 2016). Since Pakistan is an agricultural country, biomass-derived fuel resources (biofuels) are the best and most sustainable alternatives to overcome the severe energy crisis.

What is Biodiesel?
Biodiesel is a lipid-derived biofuel, mainly produced from the transesterification of free fatty acids (FFAs) and triglycerides derived from plant oils and animal fats(Ali et al., 2020). It is important as an eco-friendly, renewable, biodegradable, and sustainable substitute for petro-diesel fuel. It can be obtained from various edible and non-edible feedstocks, including rapeseed, sunflower, jatropha seed, soybean, sorghum grain, jojoba, palm oil, microalgae, animal fat, and waste oil (Yaqoob et al., 2021). The viscosity and ignition profile of biodiesel is very much like diesel fuel. Moreover, it contains oxygen with no sulfur leading to a reduction in emissions of sulfur oxides, air particulates, CO, and hydrocarbons. Despite several advantages, there are a few limitations, particularly in terms of 5 to 12% lower energy content per liter of biodiesel in comparison to petroleum diesel fuel(Shen et al., 2020). Biodiesel is sensitive to cold weather and requires the mixing of additives to enhance stability and long-term storage, especially at low temperatures.

PSO’s Initiative:
Pakistan State Oil(PSO) launched an initiative to replace 10% of the country’s total petro-diesel consumption (around 8 million tonnes) with biodiesel in 2010, with the involvement of the AEDB (Alternative Energy Development Board)and Pak Agricultural Research Council.

Jatropha Curcas: Prospective Plant Candidate for Biodiesel Production:
PSO has selectedJatropha Curcas as a potential candidate plant for biodiesel production( Curcas is a small and medium-sized fern plant that belongs to the Euphorbiaceae family. It is significantly important for large-scale biodiesel production because of many unique characteristics, such as the very good oil profile of its seed (32-35% oil), capability to grow under a variety of climates, less water requirement for cultivation, and environment friendly. Furthermore, Jatropha oil serves as the best alternative fuel due to its higher cetane number (51), which is equivalent to diesel (46 to 50), making it suitable for use in diesel engines without any modification(Singh et al., 2021). Lastly, the plant can grow on Pakistan’s abundant marginal or barren land with favorable climatic conditions without disturbing the natural balance of food crops.

Biodiesel Production in Pakistan:
Various companies and institutes in Pakistan are working on different biodiesel production plans from jatropha and other feedstocks to acquire national economic growth and security. Bio-Tech Energy company, located in Sheikhupura, is currently manufacturing EN14214 European standard biodiesel (

Challenges and Solutions:
The biodiesel output of edible vegetable oils, plants like jatropha, cannabis, waste cooking oil, and fats provides several social, environmental, and economic advantages. Pakistan relies on imports of millions of tonnes of petroleum products per day, leading to a high inflation rate. To combat these challenges, renewable energy resources, i.e., biodiesel, bioethanol, biogas, biohydrogen, etc. holds promising potential as an affordable financial solution. However, one of the largest limiting factors to the adoption of biodiesel in Pakistan is the high cost of its feedstocks(Ali et al., 2020). To overcome this problem, it is important to manage biodiesel production with full utilization of its by-products, making it a sustainable and environment-friendly alternative to petroleum diesel. The government of Pakistan should promote biofuels as an industry, with significant investments from big companies and businesses.

• Ali, S., Fazal, T., Javed, F., Hafeez, A., Akhtar, M., Haider, B., . . . Rehman, F. (2020). Investigating biodiesel production strategies as a sustainable energy resource for Pakistan. Journal of Cleaner Production, 259, 120729. doi:
• Javed, M. S., Raza, R., Hassan, I., Saeed, R., shaheen, D., Iqbal, J., & Shaukat, S. (2016). The energy crisis in Pakistan: A possible solution via biomass-based waste. Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, 8, 043102. doi:10.1063/1.4959974
• Khan, S., Nisar, A., Wu, B., Zhu, Q.-L., Wang, Y.-W., Hu, G.-Q., & He, M.-x. (2022). Bioenergy production in Pakistan: Potential, progress, and prospect. Science of The Total Environment, 814, 152872. doi:
• Shen, J., Michaelian, K. H., Gieleciak, R., Baesso, M. L., Astrath, N. G., & Malacarne, L. C. J. J. o. A. P. (2020). Photothermal characterization of biodiesel and petroleum diesel fuels—A review and perspective. 128(19), 190902.
• Singh, D., Sharma, D., Soni, S., Inda, C. S., Sharma, S., Sharma, P. K., & Jhalani, A. J. F. (2021). A comprehensive review of physicochemical properties, production process, performance and emissions characteristics of 2nd generation biodiesel feedstock: Jatropha curcas. 285, 119110.
• Yaqoob, H., Teoh, Y. H., Sher, F., Ashraf, M. U., Amjad, S., Jamil, M. A., . . . Mujtaba, M. A. (2021). Jatropha Curcas Biodiesel: A Lucrative Recipe for Pakistan’s Energy Sector. 9(7), 1129.