Submitted by: African Power Initiative (API)
Implemented country: Uganda
Title: Fighting Poverty and Environmental Destruction with Biodiesel
Marcos Bitew and his wife live in Uganda. He has a Bachelor of Business Administration and describes himself as a good organizer and planner. He needs these talents as CEO of African Power Initiative Ltd. (API). Marcos would like to be the author of change in his country. Oil has brought much suffering to the people of Africa – it has caused war and poverty. High oil prices are making the situation even worse and so Marcos is looking for alternatives. The solution he found lies in manufacturing and selling bio-fuel. With the help of API he would like to become the leading producer of green energy by selling biodiesel and biodiesel jet-fuel for cars and airplanes instead of fossil fuels. Marcos gets his inspiration from travelling, reading, and long hikes through national parks.
Currently, API is building a 20,000 acre farm that will be managed by Cenergy Global Ltd, which will provide the raw materials for biodiesel production. These raw materials are certain tree species and plants that cannot be used for food. The project is implemented with the help of local farmers as contractual partners. One pilot refinery is already in use. It can produce 4,000 liters of biodiesel and refine 60,000 liters per day. However, there are many more challenges that need to be overcome. Weather conditions are not always ideal and sometimes ruin the harvest. Funding is difficult – and Marcos would need more land, machinery, incentives for the farmers, tending of the plants, and administrative and managerial support.
The cornerstone has been laid but Marcos has not yet reached his goal. It is a tall order – because he would like to go into biodiesel production on a large scale and grow other plants as well. His goal is to plant at least 3.5 million trees. The biodiesel refinery needs to work to capacity for the benefit of at least 100,000 people in the region where Marcos lives. And of course he would also like to have the environment benefit from his actions, which is very important to Marcos. So he keeps on working as long as he can afford it. His team is more than willing to support him and he is motivated by thinking of the next generation’s future. “We need to leave the world in a better place than we found it.”
“Leave the world in a better place than we found it!”