Cost effective production of biodiesel fuel
Muyesu, Frederick Ridweye
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The global community is focusing on development of renewable sources of energy as an alternative to petroleum fuels. This is due to depletion of fossil fuels in the world coupled with skyrocketing fuel prices and increased concerns in climatic changes. In Kenya, petroleum fuels are imported to meet industrial and transport demands. The Government is supporting public and private initiatives in development of alternative renewable sources of energy. It is in this regard that the biodiesel studies have been made. Major breakthroughs have been made by various public and private institutions. However, the challenge often encountered in the course of promoting biodiesel is “the cost of one litre of biodiesel”. The cost of production of biodiesel can only be determined by respective country. Despite the achievements in process development, production cost had not yet been done. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the locally developed production process and derive the cost of biodiesel. Derivation centred on inputs like variable costs and overhead costs as well as on outputs such as the biodiesel product and the by-products like glycerine. In addition, production costs were done for different plant capacities of 100, 500 and 1,000 litres output capacity. The findings were: cost of biodiesel from 100 litres plant was KShs.144/=; from 500 litres plant was KShs.113/=; and 1,000 litres plant gave a price of KShs.104/=. The results indicated that production of biodiesel was comparable to the cost of petroleum diesel which was KShs.109/= at the time of study.