Researchers at Egypt’s National Research Center (NRC) have produced a bio-fuel suitable for airplanes using jatropha plants grown in desert with sewage water, Sci Dev Net reported.

The NRC was commissioned officially by the Civil Aviation Ministry to find a local bio-fuel to power planes in line with the International Air Transport Association plan to halve CO2 emissions by 2050.

Gizine El Diwani, professor at the center’s chemical engineering and semi-industrial experiments department, says it all started with the production of a bio-fuel for cars. The researchers made bio-diesel from the seeds of the jatropha tree — the seeds’ oil content is between 20-25%. The oil can be easily extracted using organic solvents such as hexane, according to El Diwani.

At this stage, the fuel is suitable for car engines. To be suitable for jet engines, it should be able to resist freezing until at least minus 45c. The research team sought to resolve this at a later stage in the fuel’s development.