Contribution of Liquid Biofuels To Socio-Economic Rural Development

Happiness Mlay, Jamidu H.Y. Katima, Rwaichi J.A. Minja


The rural community still lacks access to clean, cost effective and sustainable form of energy that is needed to power their socio-economic activities, particularly for agriculture, water supply and food processing. Understanding that energy has a close link with poverty reduction, economic growth and sustainable development, a study on the process of modifying plant oil (PO) to produce a suitable liquid biofuel that can run diesel engines commonly used in rural areas for various social-economic activities was carried out. The research was part of works by Policy Innovation System for Clean Energy Security (PISCES) research project, which was a five-year initiative project funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). PISCES, which had partners in Kenya, India, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom and Tanzania, intended to provide policy makers with information and approaches that can unlock the potential of bioenergy to improve energy access and livelihoods in rural communities. The PO used was indigenous non-edible oil from Jatropha (Jatropha Curcas L.) seeds. Modified Plant Oil (MPO) presents a potential clean, cost-effective, sustainable and accessible fuel to meet rural basic energy needs. MPO can also power rural agro-processing activities by being used in power tillers, millers, water pumps, etc., and become an important key for socio-economic development of rural population relying on agricultural activities. The use of renewable energy from PO will contribute to sustainable energy source and to reduce CO2 emission, contributing to reduce climate change problems.

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