Diesel from vegetable oil

Higher crude oil prices are wreaking havoc in the economies of many developing countries. But in countries which produce vegetable oils, small, medium or large-scale oil extraction plants to produce competitively priced biodiesel could be set up (or adjusted from existing oil-pressing plants).
Pure plant oilseeds like sunflower, maize, cott Higher crude oil prices are wreaking havoc in the economies of many developing countries. But in countries which produce vegetable oils, small, medium or large-scale oil extraction plants to produce competitively priced biodiesel could be set up (or adjusted from existing oil-pressing plants).
Pure plant oilseeds like sunflower, maize, cotton, avocado, peanut, palm and canola (but not castor), are technically suitable for biodiesel production.
The potential for medium-sized businesses in developing countries to produce biodiesel has been increased with the launch, in South Africa, of a production line with capacity to produce 5,000 litres per 24 day costing about $140,000 (about $90,000 for the cold press plant and $50,000 for the diesel conversion plant).
Hitherto, small plants have been available from producers in First World countries, but at much higher prices than this, according to the South African producers of the plant. They say their price is competitive because of lower costs for skills, labor and materials in South Africa.Biodiesel producing plants – normally large-scale – have been set up throughout Europe since the early 1980s and biodiesel now forms a significant part of the diesel used in the EU.
In First World countries, biodiesel production is generally related to environmental initiatives and is often directly or indirectly subsidised by the state.
Historically, the first diesel engine produced by Rudolf Diesel ran on vegetable oil.
Although countries like Indonesia and Malaysia are currently embarking on construction of large-scale biodiesel production plants, there is a major need for small and medium-scale technology because in many countries there are legal problems with selling biodiesel as it competes with publicly available crude oil-based fuel.
Crude oil-based fuel generally yields a range of taxes for governments and bureaucrats are often “influenced” by large crude oil companies.
However, in many cases, biodiesel could be produced economically even if the same range of taxes was applied to it.
The makers are South African engineering company Marlim and ABC Hansen Africa, the local subsidiary of Danish company ABC Hansen, which specializes in equipment for the developing world.
The primary question to be answered when considering biodiesel production is of economics – particularly whether the crude oil price will decline, as it did following the high prices in the late 1970s.
In favor of biodiesel production in the long-term is the fact that developing world currencies are generally in chronic decline against the US dollar, in which crude oil is denominated. This means that in the long-term, crude oil prices to developing countries are likely to rise even if the crude oil dollar price remains constant, for instance.
The economic risk of setting up a biodiesel plant is also reduced if the plant uses spent oil from fast food outlets (as is commonly done in the US) and/or if its production is convertible to edible oil production.
If, to reduce risk further, a plant which could alternatively also produce edible oil, its design would be influenced by the demands of the local market. It might include facilities for deodorizing, ultrafiltration and bleaching.
MARLIM: mikel@marlim.co.za Tel +27 57 357 3164 Fax +27 57 352 9604
ABC HANSEN: edify@mweb.co.za Tel +27 12 042033 Fax +2712 042034
TO E-MAIL THE SUPPLIERS, CLICK BELOW