From cooking oil to biofuel

10 March 2019 | Environment

Windhoek • Yolanda Nel

A bottle of cooking oil is heated up in the deep fryer to make the perfect, golden chicken nuggets. Once the oil is left to cool, it’s poured back into a bottle to reuse later or given to someone else.

While this is common practise in most households, reusing cooking oil can pose some serious health hazards. Not only is it associated with an increased risk of stroke, elevated levels of LDL (or bad) cholesterol and liver disease, reused and rancid oil has cancer-causing properties.

“Once oil has become highly carcinogenic, it should not be passed on for any human consumption and it should be disposed of properly,” says Bruce Salt of BEE Biofuel Manufacturing. This also means it should not be poured it down your kitchen sink, he says.

Here is where BEE Biofuel Manufacturing steps in. They ensure the safe disposal of used oil and are approved by Namibian municipalities and town councils. “BEE disposal includes a valid certificate of safe disposal for the supplier, which they can submit to the health inspector,” he says.

Far and wide

A dedicated BEE Biofuel Manufacturing team drives around the country to collect buckets of oil from lodges and restaurants. All this oil then gets filtered into flow bins and once filled, is sent to Swakopmund, where the manufacturing process begins.

“Windhoek is actually just a collection point for oil buckets in a central place and of course to collect the waste,” Bruce says.

Once in Swakopmund, the oil is filtered further and put through a centrifuge that separates it from any water and other sediments. The catalyst is added to the raw product and the machine is designed to produce a 1 000 litres per hour.

Residents are more than welcome to bring their used oil to BEE offices in the Lafrenz Industrial area. “The goal is to set up collection points in Windhoek. However, these is a small risk that people might add engine oil to the mix, and this will contaminate the whole container,” Bruce says.

He explains that they have a variety of used cooking oils, from oil that was used once to oil that should not be reused again. “Depending on the quality, we just mix it in different batches,” he says. Oil from different establishments that use different cooking methods are also kept separate.

According to him, all used cooking oil collected is used in the production of non-food products including biodiesel, soaps and compost and is in accordance with environmental regulations.

“We have some major clients where we collect their used oil and provide them with a biodegradable degreaser and they get their biofuel from us. It is truly a full recycle,” Bruce says.

For more information, Bruce can be contacted at [email protected] Businesses that would like to become involved with the Recycle Namibia Forum, can visit their website and Facebook page or contact Anita at [email protected]

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