University of Botswana commissions biodiesel production unit
In Botswana, the University of Botswana Biodiesel Research Unit in the Faculty of Engineering and Technology (FET) has commissioned a biodiesel processing unit. Designed to produce 380 liters of biodiesel per batch from different feedstock sources, it was commissioned by Mmetla Masire, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, at Block 251 on February 11, 2020.
The new biodiesel production unit is part of a joint research project between the University of Botswana, Department of Agricultural Research and the Department of Energy in the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, who is the project sponsor.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, Secretary Masire commended the University of Botswana and Department of Agricultural Research for their technical support in the implementation of the Biodiesel Production Project.
The project seeks to enhance knowledge and scale up biodiesel production from various indigenous feedstock in Botswana, Secretary Masire observed.
He noted that upon completion of the project, the government anticipated the accumulation of technical knowledge and experience in the production of biodiesel in Botswana on a commercial basis.
In addition, the production of biodiesel is expected to improve energy security and also promote rural development, he said.
According to Secretary Masire, biofuels had become an attractive source of energy since they offered the prospect of domestic energy generation and a reliable, renewable source of fuel. Furthermore, biofuels had the potential to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, as well as to facilitate the establishment of new industries, employment prospects, and incomes.
Secretary Masire noted that given 1.2 billion litres per annum of ground transportation fuels that the country consumes with an average annual growth of 3.5 percent, biofuels, in particular commercial biodiesel production, would “certainly contribute” to ensuring that Botswana achieved its commitment of reducing GHG emissions by 15 percent (from 2010 emissions levels) by 2030.
In addition, biofuels will also contribute to Botswana attaining its Vision 2036 target of becoming energy secure, with diversified safe and clean energy sources, and a net energy exporter.
Secretary Masire said that biodiesel “offered an effective alternative to fossil fuels” as it delivered similar energy performance and could be used in standard diesel engines without the need for any modification, as was the case in this project.