“So organic farming practices are something that, to me, are interlinked with the idea of using biodiesel.”- Daryl Hannah

Happy Bio-diesel Day!! The 10th of August commemorates the day Rudolf Diesel used oil from peanuts to run an engine and set in motion a concept not previously imagined that there could, after all, be a renewable alternative fuel to synthetic diesel or petroleum. This product is based on either animal fats or vegetable oils.

Zimbabwe is in a place today where our need to compensate the shortage of fuel is urgent and instead of looking at exports maybe what these shortages are telling is to start considering a more intrinsic solution to our fuel problems. Bio-fuel is a renewable possibility sitting in Zimbabwe’s very own backyard. March of this year proved that this was a sentiment held at national level as the Ministry of Energy launched NREP (National Renewable Energy Program) &BPZ (Biofuels Policy of Zimbabwe) to encourage ‘clean’ and ‘affordable’ solutions to the energy problem in Zimbabwe. Biodiesel is clearly a popular concept amongst those wanting to promote sustainability and for good reason, it is a solution so close to home.

Whilst biodiesel emits roughly the same amount as gasoline, it burns cleaner and has the added advantage of being biodegradable which is not the case with other fuel additives. According to the Department of Energy of the USA, ethanol could cut greenhouse emissions by as much as 86%. This is significant enough a margin to make it worthy of consideration. Being a country filled with farmers it comes as no surprise that we do count as contributors to greenhouse emissions; these come about as a result of livestock and crop cultivation. With biodiesel our contributions are cut down considerably lower.

Once Bio-fuel production is linked to biodiesel production it will increase the appeal and demand for all other agricultural inputs. This could in turn mark the resuscitation of Zimbabwe’s agro-based economy, a time and moment many Zimbabweans today are keen to discover.