A lot of things come to mind when I think of ways to recycle used vegetable oil but I can assure you that none of those ideas include turning it into car fuel. Well, here’s a young engineer from Zambia who has managed to capture the world’s attention by coming up with that exact idea.
Mutoba Ngoma, is the mastermind behind Tupera, a company that manufactures biodiesel by turning used vegetable oil into diesel. Not only is this helping solve the fuel crisis in the country, but it is also providing sustainable job opportunities for people in his community.
It started as a small backyard business with plus minus 200 litres of used oil being cleaned and processed every month, today the proud aeronautical engineering boasts in processing up to 3000 litres a month. “We’ve got one major client that takes the bulk of what we produce and then we’ve got about seven or eight small clients that come in for small quantities,” explains Ngoma.
Every business owner knows that the most important component of reaching sustainable financial goals is diversifying your business. Realising the importance of expanding his business, Ngoma soon decided to diversify his product range with soap.
“The idea of making soaps came about as a result of one of our challenges of securing enough raw material for the diesel. We realized as we were waiting for more oil to come about we could actually be producing something else. And we found that we could actually produce soap from the same oil. So we just had to clean it a bit more and it’s even cheaper to process than the diesel. We stuck with it because we felt it is also a good income generator,” adds the passionate technologist.
This could just be the answer to Zambia’s fuel crisis, talk about an innovative way of solving a nation-wide challenge.