Monday, July 9, 2012

Used cooking oil to fuel your car

By Esther Nakkazi

Imagine using waste cooking oil blended with diesel to fuel your car?

Pure fuels East Africa Ltd, a pioneer producer of biodiesel in the region based in Mombasa has switched to waste cooking oil from Jatropha to offer a cheap, environmentally friendly and renewable alternative that will keep East African economies green.

“We stopped using Jatropha because it proved expensive to transport from Arusha and to remain profitable, so we have focused on used cooking oil which we are collecting from hotels and restaurants,” said Daniel Mugenga, managing director, Pure Fuels (E.A) Ltd.

In its new marketing strategy, Pure Fuels (E.A) now focuses on production of the biodiesel through engaging sub-contractors who are encouraged to buy their GXP-200 processor and collect waste cooking oil from hotels and restaurants.

Since its inception in 2008, the company has been processing biodiesel and has used its experience to develop a simple and efficient multi-feedstock processor the GXP-200, which can process vegetable oils, animal fat, used cooking oils or a mixture of them all.

It processes 200 litres of biodiesel per 8 hours and sub-contractors are encouraged to produce a minimum of 200 litres per week, which has been calculated to enable them break even in less than 6 months and also grow the market with increased biodiesel output.

The GXP-200 costs Kshs.99, 000 inclusive of VAT and although it is an easy to use technology, one of the challenges the team faces is people thinking it is complicated because to most of them ‘it is the first time ever they have heard of biodiesel and its production’ said an employee from Pure Fuels E.A.

But fortunately, the target market is fairly informed about the product and is growing demand. For instance last month, the company had further success after acquiring a contract with a leading bus shuttle service that operates within the Nairobi central business district as well as an independent fuel station chain in Mombasa, which are buying 130,000 Liters of biodiesel for a start.

This was on top of existing customers whose demand is the entire stock of 20,000-30,000 Liters per month. In the out-grower model they are using now, sub-producers are key but these have to buy the GXP-200 processor, source their own used cooking oil, seed oil or animal fat as the company supplies you with the know-how and chemicals.

It has also partnered with the Equity Bank, Bank of Africa to offer financing to prospective sub-contractors.

The current price for the finished biodiesel is between Kshs.64-70 per litre depending on the quantities supplied. For now the company is only offering a buyback guarantee for Kenya sub-producers but will expand soon to Uganda.

“At least through this model are able to know the profitability of collecting that particular diesel other than traveling over 50 kms expecting 1000 litres of used cooking oil only to find that only 200 litres of it is available,” said Mugenga.

And it is not only this uncertainty that has made the company change its strategy. At its inception, Pure Fuels targeted the use of Jatropha, which it was importing from Tanzania but it proved too expensive to meet their target of 10-20 percent less than the price of conventional fuel. 

The idea was to have a 20:80 ratio of diesel and biodiesel in the blend.

Now switching to cooking oil, Pure Fuels targeted the youth to become sub-contractors in an effort to reduce unemployment among the youth, women and people with disabilities.

“We assumed the youth would readily jump on board but our biggest market has come from middle aged individuals with established careers who use it a second income earner,” said Mugenga.


  1. Hi to all, i have visited your site first time is quit interesting to read about the cooking oil recycling.Keep updating such nice post.

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  2. Thank you for another informative web site. Where else could I get that type of information written in such an ideal way? I have a project that I’m just now working on, and I have been on the look out for such info. Coal

  3. I hope it can be done also in my Toyota Vitz, this is a good breakthrough in energy conservation.


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