Desert date (Balanites aegyptiaca) as an arid lands sustainable bioresource for biodiesel

Bishnu P. Chapagain, Yariv Yehoshua, Zeev Wiesman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


The aim of this study was to assess the suitability of Desert date (Balanites aegyptiaca L. Delile) as an oil crop in arid lands for large-scale sustainable industrial biodiesel production. Characterization of the Desert date plant material showed that using proper cultivation practices with emphasis on low quality irrigation water trees can be extremely well developed in hyper-arid conditions of the Israeli Arava desert and yield oil-rich fruits. Best selected trees can yield date fruits up to 52 kg/trees. Desert date kernels oil content may reach up to 46.7% (based on dry weight). The oil is consisted on four major fatty acids: palmitic (16:0), stearic (18:0), oleic (18:1), and linoleic (18:2), constituting 98-100% of the total fatty acids in the oil of all tested genotypes. Linoleic acid was the most prevalent fatty acid, ranging from 31% to 51% of the fatty acids profile, very similar to soybean oil profile. In situ biodiesel production directly from oil-enriched powder was successfully developed. Yield efficiency for both conventional and in situ biodiesel production was about 90%. The qualities of the produced biodiesel well meet the international biodiesel standards. The present study clearly demonstrated Desert date as a model for the utilization of bioresources in the Israeli Arava desert and potentially other similar areas for cost-effective biodiesel production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1221-1226
Number of pages6
JournalBioresource Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Arid
  • Balanites aegyptiaca
  • Biodiesel
  • Desert date
  • In situ trans-esterification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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