New policy to boost Kenya’s biodiesel industry
The country hopes the move to biodiesel will cut the country free from its reliance on fossil fuel imports.
The strategy aims to tackle global warming and recommends using environmentally friendly green fuel made from jatropha and other locally grown trees for biodiesel production. Jatropha is suitable for feedstock because it is a non-food crop.
Studies show that Jatropha is the most promising option as it requires little input to grow in unproductive land. The cost of importing petroleum is a large expense for Kenya. The country’s fuel bill increased from €1 billion in 2006 to €1.1 billion in 2007.
The strategy aims to fast track the development of biodiesel so Kenya can phase out its dependence on imported fossil fuels.
Energy permanent secretary, Patrick Nyoike said: ‘About 5% reduction in imported diesel can be achieved by 2012 through substitution with biodiesel. To achieve this, blending fossil diesel with biodiesel can begin with 5% as a starting point.’
Diesel engines can run on a fuel blend of 20% biodiesel and 80% diesel without modification. To enhance this the process will start with fuel outlets stocking biodiesel.
The Kenya Bio-Diesel Association (KBDA) is a government-registered body that has been put in place to research institutions, planting materials suppliers, growers, processors, marketers and distributors.