ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes: Natural Resources: Energy:Small scale energy sources and plants:Bio-fuel
- is a fuel that is produced through contemporary biological processes,
- such as agriculture and anaerobic digestion,
- rather than a fuel produced by geological processes such as those involved in the formation of fossil fuels, such as coal and petroleum, from prehistoric biological matter
- Biofuels can be derived directly from plants, or indirectly from agricultural, commercial, domestic, and/or industrial wastes
- Zimbabwe once tried implement bio-diesel projects from the seed of the Jatropha plant which grows naturally in some parts of the country.
- The Jatropha plant grows extensively in Mutoko, Mudzi, Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe among others.
- It has also been introduced in other parts of the country.
- One tonne of the Jatropha seed can produce 400 litres of bio-fuel.
- The project was coordinated by the Industrial Development Corporation, the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe and the Scientific and Industrial Research Development Centre.
- The production of bio-diesel from the Jatropha seed produces by-products such as glycerine which can be used in soap-making and also a residue that can be used as organic fertilizer.
- Although the Jatropha plant is extensively known for its medicinal value, its bark also contains tannin which can be used as a dye in the textile and leather industries.
- The project has failed due to corruption, lack of funds, disorganization and lack of consistent clear goals
- Bio-fuel is used in other parts of the world such as Brazil were it has had better success
- Here sugarcane is used to make ethanol
- The ethanol is then used to power cars and other machinery
- In Zimbabwe ethanol production in the Loweveld is also used as a fuel
- Unlike in Brazil where pure ethanol is used the ethanol is mostily blended with petrol
- The fuel is then used to power cars and other machinary
- An example of indirect bio-fuel production in Zimbabwe
- is when molasses and other waste is used to heat water into steam
- This is then used to generate electricity at Hippo Valley
- The electricity produced is used to meet the needs of Hippo Valley and surrounding communities
To access more topics go to the O Level Geography Notes page
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