How bio-fuel is powering the Northern Cape

02/10/2017 | By Admin

Old oil from restaurants and takeaways is producing a brand of diesel that’s keeping cars on the road, providing jobs and ensuring waste is properly disposed of in the Northern Cape.

Local entrepreneur Earl Muller, from Concordia in rural Namaqualand, makes a cheaper, cleaner, greener fuel that emits half the amount of emissions than regular fuel.

Muller’s Nam Petroleum Biodiesel Project forms part of the establishment of a green economy in Namaqualand, which aims to create jobs and support the local community to make a livelihood in a more sustainable way.

Biodiesel is a renewable, biodegradable fuel made from vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled restaurant oil. It is a non-toxic, cleaner-burning replacement for petroleum diesel fuel. Biodiesel emits 78% less carbon dioxide than regular diesel and a 94% reduction in carcinogens.

Funding for the expansion of Muller’s project has been provided by the Skeppies small grants fund, established in 2007, which has allowed Muller to double the size of his plant to increase production capacity.

The Skeppies fund, under the management of Conservation South Africa and guided by a management committee chaired by the Development Bank of Southern Africa, is supported by Citi Group SA’s Citi Foundation. The foundation is committed to supporting small and growing businesses, which provide economic opportunities and job creation for individuals throughout the world.

Over the last nine years Skeppies has supported 51 businesses, empowered business leaders to expand, co-ordinated networking opportunities with like-minded entrepreneurs, incorporated climate risk reduction strategies in business plans, and, in some cases, started new businesses that have grown from strength to strength.

Initially Skeppies support was confined to the Northern Cape, but it has now expanded beyond the borders of Namaqualand, and, thanks to the Citi Foundation, Skeppies has provided technical and financial support to farming groups and businesses in both the Namakwa and Alfred Nzo Districts in the Northern and Eastern Cape provinces of SA.

With a specific focus on empowering women and the youth, Skeppies beneficiaries are, amongst others, NGOs, community organisations, the private sector, faith-based organisations, government, parastatals, and individuals working towards a good cause.

The work is focused in priority landscape-scale corridors that conserve ecosystem processes and buffer species and people against climate change.

Skeppies has been instrumental in creating 62 new businesses, 452 new jobs, increasing the skills of 1065 local people and contributing to conserving 6959 hectares of Succulent Karoo landscape. By making nature a partner in business, Skeppies projects have contributed to the protection of 242 Red Data species.

All Skeppies projects are required to show conservation benefits, including the total number of endangered and unique species conserved, hectares protected and better land managed. Projects range from the creation of ecotourism and restoration businesses, to the establishment of commercial medicinal plant enterprises.

Skeppies projects create jobs through:

  • New businesses
  • Adding value to existing businesses
  • Creating employment opportunities
  • Capacitating people (particularly women)
  • Raising environmental awareness