Access to fuels for transportation and electric power for buildings is a critical component for prosperity. Reliable sources of energy are often difficult to access in rural or underdeveloped regions. Although developing countries in tropical regions are often rich in biological resources, such as biomass and oil seeds, however, extreme poverty, lack of an educated populace and an absence of a reliable manufacturing infrastructure mean that these resources go largely untapped. This contribution will describe the design of a promising prototype for an appropriate technology for the sustainable, low-cost production of biodiesel and its required raw materials from locally available materials and feed stocks.
The biodiesel processor will be fuelled by wood or charcoal, consist of no moving parts and utilize passive temperature control. This novel process will be safe, easy to operate and suitable for individual or community scale production. The project described herein has been developed in collaboration with the African Centre for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology (ACREST), an NGO in Cameroon. Further, the implementation of this process by a student team in Bangang Village, Cameroon in sub-Saharan Africa will be described. This project is part of a student led People, Prosperity and the Planet design project, sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.