Source: ABC Landline

Australian scientists may have achieved a decades-long quest to find a plant-based alternative to petroleum-based engine oils, one that can be recycled, reused and breaks down in the environment.

Initial studies show safflower oil to be a superior lubricant that has lower emissions than conventional petroleum-based products, and reduces friction and wear on engine components.

The biofuel is produced from specially-bred safflower with high levels of oleic acid, the culmination of 18 years of work by CSIRO plant scientists.

The result is a variety which yields up to 93 per cent oil, the highest level of purity in any currently available plant oils.