Mechanisation of processes

Weed control with hot oils from renewable resources

The use of agrochemicals in agricultural production systems is increasingly met with scepticism by society. Requests are voiced to stop the use of certain herbicides through legal steps.
Hence, since several years the Institute of Agricultural Engineering of the University of Bonn is focussing on the search of alternative, efficient and selective measures to control weeds in row cultures both inter-row as intra-row. Here, focus is on the use of plant-based oils from renewable resources, which can be heated to high temperatures and applied directly onto the weeds by using specific spray applications.
The research project is based on the thermophysical and fluidmechanical properties of plant-based oils which can be heated much quicker and to higher temperatures (>100°C) in comparison with water. In addition, they have good adhesion properties on plant surfaces. Through the use of these thermophysical properties, a sufficient destruction of the plant tissue by denaturation of proteins is expected that will lead to weed destruction or growth retardation.
Because these oils from renewable resources are environmentally friendly and can be used as substitute to agrochemicals, this thermic plant protection measure has a good perspective for use in conventional as well as organic agriculture.

Responsible: University of Bonn, Institute for Agricultural Engineering

Duration: 2015-2017

Funding: Training and Research Focus “Environmentally friendly agriculture” (USL)

Contact: Jürgen Peukert (j.peukert(at)