//An advocate of bio-fuel

An advocate of bio-fuel

Alternative fuel such as cooking oil enhances engine performance, causing less pollution. And if available cheaply, recycled cooking oil will gradually become popular, says Talal F. Yusaf in a chat with Abdul Latheef Naha.

Asking him what he is may confuse him. His degrees and specialisations are too many. But the word education excites him so much that he will not mind spending an entire day speaking about how important it is to get the best education.

Talal F. Yusaf, from Australia, is a mechanical engineer-turned-biotechnologist. After securing a doctorate in thermo-fluid and energy area, Dr. Yusaf turned his attention to micro-organisms. His studies in the use of non-conventional methods to disrupt micro-organisms have earned him a name not in only in Australia but also Malaysia.

Dr. Yusaf was in Malappuram early this week interacting with the Da’wa students of Ma’danu Ssquafathil Islamiyya, Swalat Nagar. "Education is everything to me," says Dr. Yusaf, who hails from Fallujah in Iraq. He spends over 60 per cent of his time in office or in laboratories.

Dr. Yusaf has words of praise for Indians in biotechnology. He is scheduled to meet an Indian team of biotechnologists in Malaysia later this week. He says prospects for biotechnology are bright in India.

Yet, according to Dr. Yusaf, biotechnology at the graduate level is not advisable as it is too vast a subject. Though biotechnology has specific branches like pharmacology, bioinformatics and biomedical engineering, there is a lot of grey area in the subject, he says.

Bio-fuel being his favourite subject, Dr. Yusaf is an ardent advocate of palm oil or other cooking oil being used as an alternative fuel in internal combustion engines. Instead of diesel, recycled cooking oil can be used effectively, he says.

He believes that natural gases may not always be cheaply available. When the fuel prices go up, recycling of cooking oil will become popular, he says. Dr. Yusaf says the use of alternative fuel enhances the engine performance, causing less pollution. "If you can find it cheaper than diesel, what else can you want?" he asks. He says the Government should support alternative energy research projects.

Dr. Yusaf, who enjoys travelling between Europe, Australia and Malaysia, has respect for Indian scientists. "You can do wonders if you get the kind of equipment we have in Malaysia and Australia," he says.

Working simultaneously at the University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia, and University Tenaga Nasional, Malaysia, Dr. Yusaf believes distant education has discredited the on-campus system of education. "If you don’t meet your doctor, how can he address your ailment?" he asks, drawing an analogy with education through correspondence.

He says there is no guarantee of genuineness in distance education. Dr. Yusaf says the biggest problem haunting Indian education today is its lack of direction. "Indians working abroad should come back and support their community here," he says.

http://www.hindu.com/2006/02/05/stories/2006020501750200.htm