Sustainably developed biofuel from Jatropha production in Cameroon : a feasibility study

Alphen, J.H.C. (Jeroen) (2012) Sustainably developed biofuel from Jatropha production in Cameroon : a feasibility study.

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Abstract:This research is about Biofuels and Sustainable Development; two of the most discussed topics in energy production at this moment. Since biofuels are in a dynamic phase, serious question marks have to be placed regarding the production of this in developing countries such as Cameroon. Therefore this research has been set up for Reef’s/ TRC’s which core business is supplying wood from its own forest concessions in Cameroon, to civil engineering projects and the building industry in the Netherlands. The goal of this research is to create an answer to the following question: “Under what conditions can Reef/ TRC produce three million litres of biodiesel a year, using Jatropha produced by local communities, in a sustainable manner, at an economic price?”. There are several production models conceivable to produce this biodiesel. These models vary from large plantations to farmers who produce Jatropha on a piece of unused farmland. There are many standards available to produce biofuel in a sustainably developed manner. However, these standards are not specifically applicable to Reef’s business model, therefore these have been customised. This research has combined the principles and criteria of several sustainability standards, articles and wishes of stakeholders into a matrix. This matrix contains criteria including prevention of food-competition and deforestation, reduction of greenhouse gas and increased local prosperity and welfare for employees and local communities. This matrix has been discussed by means of scientific literature and in the perspective of the project of Reef/ TRC. Some of the criteria are beyond the range of control of TRC while others need extra attention. These discussions have lead to the final selection of customised criteria that have been used to evaluate the five production models. These models have been weighed using four evaluations, customised criteria, ease of implementation and practical feasibility. Next to these evaluations there was also a financial evaluation which includes purchasing of machinery, education and vehicles and salary for employees in plantations or the rewarding of farmers. The project costs may not exceed the current fossil fuel costs which are €2.225.000 (3 million litres of fossil diesel at €0,75/ litre). Out of the five production models one model is chosen which is most applicable in this situation in Cameroon which is the Farmer Model. This model divides the total amount of needed plantation over a large group of farmers around the forest concessions, who will use a part of their own farm ground for Jatropha plantations. The Farmer Model is a feasible model, a lot of farmers or communities will benefit in an economic, environmental and sustainable way. Especially when this includes empowerment of women who are motivated to work in biofuel projects and use the money for better living conditions. It also has a lot of benefits for TRC because it is the easiest model to expand production. The only disadvantages are the surveys and the formulation of the sourcing plans, which might be a time consuming operation. In addition it is still questionable whether farmers and communities will harvest and sell the Jatropha seeds or oil to TRC for the discussed price which is €0,13. It is calculated that there is a margin left in the Farmer Model of about €330.000,-. Calculation shows that the maximum price TRC can pay for the seeds per kilo is €0,16. These are figures that need to be examined in future research.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/61917
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