Longliners from Vigo are involved in a project to develop fuel from shark waste. (Photo: Stock File/FIS)
Investigation under way to use shark oil for biofuel production
Wednesday, April 13, 2011, 15:20 (GMT + 9)
Various research institutes and companies from Vigo are working on a project that aims to harness the liver of sharks as biofuel.
The idea is to use the livers of sharks caught by longline vessels in Vigo to produce, through a chemical process, fish fuel, thanks to its energy.
According to Ricardo Pérez Martín, a researcher at the Institute of Marine Research (IIM) in Vigo, "a quenlla or mako has a weight of around 70 kilos with an organ of around 5 kg, of which 70 per cent is oil."
And that oil can be reused as biofuel for fishing vessels.
This project intends to use and biologically evaluate all possible parts of small fish and sharks and also reduce the energy consumption of fishing vessels.
Today, every gallon of fuel used in the fishing industry costs between EUR 0.60 and EUR 0.70, reports the newspaper La Voz de Galicia.
The Cooperative of Shipowners of the Port of Vigo (Arvi), which is participating in the project with the IIM, the Department of Applied Physics, the University of Vigo, and the companies Xenotechs and Mecanasa estimates that the savings which could be possible with this new additive will range between 5 and 7 per cent.
As part of the project, longliners will shortly have a machine on board to extract oil from shark livers (which was designed by the IIM) and convert it into biofuel, in addition to a warehouse to store hundreds of liters, so that it can be used in the correct proportions.
By Analia Murias