THERMO FLUIDS ENGINEERING RESEARCH CENTRE
Professor A.R.D. Thorley
The concept of using fats as fuels, i.e., as a source of energy, is not at all novel. Oils, fats and waxes, along with vegetable products, have been used for centuries to provide primitive forms of heat and light. However, before considering potential applications and uses in todays
world, it is helpful to look at an overview of energy uses, current trends and some projections for the future.
Mans use of energy through the centuries have evolved from what might be termed local low technological forms to bulk production and supply from the exploitation of coal, oil and nuclear sources.
In the interests of extending the useful life of fossil reserves and in strengthening the self sufficiency of countries and continents with respect to their future energy requirements, there is a strong case for promoting the development and use of fats as fuels. The most promising lines of development would seem to be the use of genetic engineering tools, allied to the use of modern processing techniques, to produce vegetable oils that are suitable for use in internal combustion engines and furnaces for space heating and crop drying.