Pakistan is a heavy importer of fossil fuels and the total value of fuel we import every year runs into billions of dollars. Given the global economic climate, Pakistan needs to increase its energy security by producing as much energy in-house as it can. One possibility lies in the development of alternative energy sources, of which one option is bio-diesel derived from crop waste, wild plants and trees growing on marginal land. In addition, the focus should be towards non-edible oil producing feed stocks as recommended by the Alternative Energy Development Board. Recently, PSO and NED University have identified several non-edible vegetable oils such as castor, pongame and jatropha for further research. These plants can grow very easily on marginal land and if planted on a large scale for bio diesel production, can reduce petroleum imports and free up valuable foreign exchange that can be invested in other sectors of the country's economy. Bio diesel is a sustainable, cleaner-burning fuel as compared to mineral diesel derived from crude oil. Further research is recommended to determine a possible marketing and supply chain mechanism for bio-diesel production and distribution in Pakistan. In this respect, a university-industry linkage should be taken up on priority basis with the backing of the government. -MANAQIB IRTAQA, Karachi, via e-mail, August 28.