Frequently Asked Questions

Biodiesel is defined as a mono alkyl ester of vegetable oil or animal fat produced when organically derived oil such as vegetable oil or animal fat chemically reacts with an alcohol in the presence of a catalyst.

African Power Initiative (API), a renewable energy company produces biodiesel from non-food oil seeds, which are castor (Ricinus communis), jatropha (Jatropha curcas) and candlenut (Aleurites moluccana). Biodiesel is simple to use, biodegradable and essentially free of sulfur and aromatics. It can be used in compression-ignition (diesel) engines with little or no modifications. It can also be used in incinerators and diesel generators.

Biodiesel is produced through a process called trans-esterification.  In this process, the oil reacts with an alcohol to produce the biodiesel and glycerin.

At API, the castor oil or jatropha oil or the candle nut oil reacts with an alcohol in the presence of a catalyst to produce biodiesel and glycerin.

Yes it is. The Renewable Energy Policy for Uganda (2007) lays out specific modalities for the development and production of biodiesel. By providing fiscal incentives to biodiesel producers and establishing a testing facility at the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), biodiesel production is expected to increase significantly. This will be further accelerated by legislation, which will obligate petroleum companies to blend biodiesel with at least up to 20% bio diesel. This biodiesel will be used mainly, in the transport sector and for power generation.

The National Energy Policy, published in 2002, also spells out Government’s commitment to the development and use of renewable energy resources for both small and large scale applications. Therefore, this Renewable Energy Policy is a concretization of this commitment, setting out Government’s policy vision, goals, principles and objectives for promoting sustainable utilization of renewable energy in Uganda.

Biodiesel can be used as a pure fuel or blended with fossil in any percentage to create a biodiesel blend. African Power Initiative recommends B20 (a blend of 20 percent by volume biodiesel with 80 percent by volume fossil diesel) which demonstrates significant environmental benefits.

Biodiesel has many environmentally beneficial properties, the main one being described as ‘carbon neutral’. This means that the fuel produces less carbon in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2) than fossil fuel. In addition, when the oil crop grows it absorbs the same amount of CO2 (best termed as carbon sequestration) as is released when the fuel is combusted. Therefore, the Carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere when biodiesel is burned is recycled by growing the oil plants which sequestrate it.

Biodiesel reduces the emissions of green house gases which cause the green house effect and global warming. Therefore its use is ecologically correct and eligible for carbon credits.

Biodiesel decreases the country’s dependence on imported petrol.

Biodiesel is a perfect replacement for fossil diesel hence engines don’t need to be adapted.

The Cetane number (measurement of combustion quality of diesel relative to cetane as a standard) is higher than that of mineral diesel hence high power of ignition and combustion.

Biodiesel is cheaper than fossil diesel.

Biodiesel has a higher flash point than fossil diesel hence simplified distribution and greater safety in transportation.

In general, the standard storage and handling procedures used for fossil diesel can be used for biodiesel. The fuel should be stored in a clean, dry, dark environment. It should be covered to prevent moisture from mixing with it. API recommends the acceptable storage tank materials which include aluminum, steel, fluorinated polyethylene, fluorinated polypropylene and Teflon. Copper, brass, lead, tin, and zinc should be avoided.

Yes. Biodiesel can be operated in any diesel engine with little or no modification to the engine or the fuel system.

Biodiesel exhaust has a less harmful impact on human health than fossil diesel fuel. Biodiesel emissions have decreased levels of unburned hydrocarbons and particulate matter hence decrease levels of air pollution. It also virtually eliminates sulfur oxides and sulfates which are major contributors to the acidity in rain. High acid levels in the rain can erode asbestos roofs and deter plant growth.

Vehicles running on biodiesel get virtually the same miles par gallon rating (measure of the average distance traveled per unit of energy consumed) as vehicles running on fossil diesel.

At the African Power Initiative Offices located on Plot No.1929 Kansanga off Mitala road on Katete close. The office line is +256 414 662 547