Dreaming green with biodiesel
DETERMINED: Mogotsi Samotongwa

Despite a recent setback, Mogotsi Samotongwa is determined not to give up on his dream.

The Botho University accountancy student wants to produce biodiesel from animal fat and vegetable oil.

His idea saw him selected as a top ten finalist in the recently ended Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) and Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) University Challenge.

Participants were required to come up with fresh, innovative ideas and implementable proposals that address the problems faced by Botswana.

Although Samotongwa did not win the first prize, and the P200, 000 that went with it, he is adamant that his environmentally friendly scheme can still have a future in the country.

Speaking to Voice Money, Samotongwa explained that biodiesel is a bio degradable and renewable fuel, which can be used to power any ignition diesel engine.

He revealed his project would depend on the farming sector and will be supplied by butcheries, households and abattoirs.

“I also want to venture into agriculture to produce raw material for my project by ploughing oil producing plants like canola and sunflower.

“The diesel will be produced from animal fat being cooked until it becomes liquid. This will then be mixed with methanol and catalysed with sodium hydroxide to produce biodiesel in the process called esterification,” explained Samotongwa, adding that biodiesel is a clean burning fuel that produces less toxic pollutants and greenhouse gases.

The well-spoken young man went on to say that his project would involve reusing oil, which can be harmful to the environment if not properly disposed.

He is currently trying to source sponsorship for the start-up capital needed for his venture.

The challenge was won by Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resource student, Lebogang Pule.

He wowed the judges with his idea to produce fertilizer from organic waste and reduce farmers’ expenditure on chemical fertilizers.

Pule explained that the material he will use includes household waste like food, newspapers and agricultural waste such as dairy slurry and cow dung.