Sep 21, 2012
Engineering students construct 200 ℓ/d biodiesel plantBack
Construction|Engineering|Expertise|Oricol Environmental Service|PROJECT|Projects|Safety|Waste|Metallurgical Engineering Building|West Campus|Building|Chemicals|Online Community|Service|Services|Solutions|Waste Cooking Oil|Waste Disposal Contractor|Year Chemical Engineering Student|Environmental|Power|Robert Louw|Ross Arde|Waste|Wits|BIOFUELS
© Reuse this
Wits third year chemical engineering student Robert Louw and numerous other engineering students have been researching small-scale biodiesel production since March 2010.
The group, which built its first biodiesel pilot plant at the School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering building at Wits in mid-2011, has received the R20 000 in funding it required to construct the small-scale plant at the recycling station on the university’s West campus.
Biodiesel will be produced from the waste cooking oil that is generated on campus by using a process that was developed and tested by hobbyists in an open- -source online community, explains Louw.
“We are partnering with the university’s waste disposal contractor, Oricol Environmental Service successfully, to establish our biodiesel plant,” he explains.
Oricol provides the funding, chemicals and labour, as well as the health and safety expertise needed for the project, while the students provide the knowledge and expertise needed for the production of the biodiesel, says Oricol Environmental Services projects supervisor Ross Arde.
The biodiesel produced will be used by Oricol to power some of its light-duty campus vehicles.
The waste disposal contractor, which prides itself on finding solutions for various waste streams and turning waste into a resource, will be able to achieve this with the help of the student society.
Further, the company will learn more about the biofuels production process, as it is a new area of business for the company to explore and possibly use at other waste sites, says Arde.
The 200 ℓ/d capacity biodiesel plant will initially produce about 200 ℓ of biodiesel a month. This will later be ramped up to 1 000 ℓ a month to obtain up to 0.9 ℓ of biodiesel from every litre of waste cooking oil, says Louw, adding that the student organisation hopes to turn most, if not all, of the cooking oil from the campus into fuel.
Once production has been ramped up, the Oricol staff will be trained on-site by the students in how to manage the project, enabling the students to concentrate on their studies, says Arde.
The profits generated from selling the biodiesel to the university’s waste disposal contractor will go towards a bursary to study engineering at Wits.
“If all goes well, we should have enough money to pay for one student’s class fees each year. Eventually, we would like to see other South African universities following suit and develop- ing plants of their own,” says Louw.
The students believe that biodiesel production is the best way to reuse waste cooking oil in high-density populations or closely knit communities, as it is easy to collect amounts that are large enough to justify investment in biodiesel production.
Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Energy News
Recent Research Reports
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
This Week's Magazine
The international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope – which is to be jointly hosted by South Africa and Australia with, later, outstations in other countries – may not yet exist, but international scientific working groups are already deciding what...
A free Web-based solar power plant capacity-planning tool offers project planners and developers, as well as governments, a means to assess the solar energy potential of thin-film solar PV power over an area of land. The tool was developed by thin-film solar...
As yet, no specific methodology, timeline or costs have been finalised to remedy the water ingress, excessive to contractual specifications, into the Gautrain tunnel between emergency shaft two (E2) and Park Station, says Bombela Concession Company technical and...
The “seriously disruptive” electricity outages in South Africa have cost packaging group Astrapak more than R2-million in “irrecoverable downtime costs”, the company said on Monday, adding that the power cuts were negating some of the benefit of energy saving...
Bakkies and more affordable cars dominated South Africa’s new vehicle market in 2014. Unaudited data from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) shows that South Africa’s most popular vehicle in 2014 was the Toyota Hilux, selling 37 562 units.