Rwanda: Biodiesel Project to Resume

The Director General of the National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA), Dr. Jean Baptiste Nduwayezu, has said that the project is ready to resume its activities of producing biodiesel fuel that is environmental friendly.

Dr. Nduwayezu is one of the founders of the project which was initiated by the former Institute of Scientific and Technological Research (IRST) – which later turned in the National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA).

Dr. Nduwayezu said that the agency has been able to streamline its problems of procuring raw materials and chemical used in manufacturing biodiesel and the project will resume its activities this year.

In a phone interview, Dr. Nduwayezu said that this new move will benefit the farmers who have so far planted over 5.2 million jatropha trees, and over 20 hectares of land with 34,000 jatropha trees around Lake Ruhondo.

The government initiated the project in 2007 that would see bio-fuel substitute fossil fuels that are often susceptible to price volatilities.

The biodiesel project currently has a potential capacity to produce 2,000 litres of bio-diesel per day. NIRDA says that the project has a target of producing 48.000litres by 2025.

Rwanda fully relies on fuel imports through the Kenyan or Tanzanian ports and imports about 160 million liters of fuel worth $ 300m annually and the bio-fuel project produces about 13 percent of total fuel consumed.

The project has so far made success in purchasing buses which runs on 100% biodiesel, the first in Africa, in collaboration with the Institute of Scientific and Technological Research (IRST).

The biodiesel bus has been successfully tested and made its first long distance run from Kanombe-Mulindi to Akanyaru on the Rwanda-Burundi border

There are only two buses of this kind in the world and both were designed by the Swedish Scania Company. The other biodiesel bus is in Brazil.

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