Jatropha Oil as a Fuel in East Africa

There is very limited literature on the use of Jatropha oil as fuel for lamps and cooking stoves in East Africa. The documented use in a tin lamp is found in Tanzania where it is prevalently used in a lamp of “Kibatari” type used for kerosene.

In the “Kibatari” type tin lamp the wick is positioned in a copper tube whose length is designed to facilitate conduction of heat to the oil in the tank for preheating. In a similar manner the documented use in cooking stoves is limited to pressurized systems of which ‘Protos’ is the most prominent version. The cooking stove consists of a coil designed for preheating of oil which is subsequently supplied through a pressurized system.

Notwithstanding the above functioning systems, the present exercise was initiated to develop functional utility devices whose improved handling conveniences and affordability compares with those of kerosene type and used by rural communities.

The average intensity of emitted light was 5.3 Lux and the flame had negligible smoke levels (see fig 1 above).The fuel consumption was 11.5 ml/hr.

II. Jatropha tin lamp with glass from Tanzania
(Fig 2 “Kibatari” type Tin lamp without glass)

The development of this prototype was based on the shortcoming of the ‘kibatari’ type from Tanzania. The primary shortcoming was the absence of properly located and sized air supply to result in a steady flame. The height of the fuel tank was considered excessive as most of the fuel in it could not be drawn to burn through capillary action.

The average intensity for the above lamp from Tanzania was 5.5 Lux and the flame had negligible smoke levels but kept going off.

Prototype Jatropha tin lamp with glass
(Fig. 3 VADEFO Prototype Jatropha tin lamp with glass)

The average intensity of light was 6.0 Lux three hour continuous operation. The flame had negligible smoke levels and the fuel consumption was 9.0 ml/hr. Was lit for 15 hours

III. VADEFO Prototype Jatropha lantern
(Fig. 4 Schematic drawing of the proto-type Jatropha lantern)

Observations: The average light intensity was 13 Lux compared to that of standard lantern of 15 Lux. The fuel consumption was comparable with that of the kerosene lantern.

Development of VADEFO prototype wick stove fuelled with Jatropha oil(Pure Plant Oils)
(Fig 5 VADEFO Prototype wick stove ready for mass production)

IPO matter on this wick stove has been addressed and the prototype stove has qualified for reservation, patent and industrial designs. Trademark has been applied and it will be commercialized under the trade name VADEFO stoves and Lamps.

Later on this year, the vadefo prototype needs to be field tested for up take within Makueni area (Eastern Kenya) that has already established jatropha plantations and carrying out jatropha oil milling. This project however has stopped due to funding constraints and disbursement technicalities. Any further progress can only be possible
with new partnerships and arrangements and private partnerships for further developments and commercialization are most welcome.


The author acknowledges their indebtedness to the University of Nairobi, Mechanical Engineering Dept, Kenya Agricultural productivity Project (KAPP funded by World Bank) for their support of this project. e-mail to the author: Ms Lorna Omuodo:vanillajatropha@gmail.com


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Page last modified on Thursday December 16, 2010 10:13:28 GMT.
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