Botswana: Embassy Takes Media On Energy Production Tour

| February 8, 2016

Gaborone - The Japan Embassy recently took the media on a tour of the Jatropha biomass energy production plantation in Sebele.

The Jatropha tree originates in Mexico and its seed pods are used to produce oil which is extracted to produce bio diesel.

The project manager of the Botswana Japan Jatropha Research Project, Dr Yudai Ishimoto said the project aims to develop technical protocols and knowledge for production of the biodiesel in Botswana.

He stated that they want to establish the cultivation method suitable for the climate of Botswana, as the climate varies from time to time with very cold winters and heat waves in summer.

"Jatropha production is inhibited due to severe water deficits and cold winter therefore a cultivation method suitable for climate condition is required."

Dr Yudai said the oil contents of Jatropha are very high and can produce high contents of biodiesel which can benefit Botswana in future if the project is adopted.

He noted that the five year project is sponsored by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and that in 2017 they will draw the results and adopt what works best for Botswana.

He said the tree is still under monitoring since the inception of the project in 2012, and that they have not extracted oil from the pods.

From the Jatropha field, the tour went to the University of Botswana to visit a lab where JICA donated equipment that processes crude oil into biodiesel.

The Department of Mechanical Engineering's Professor Jerekias Gandure, explained that the machines were able to analyse the resistance of fuel to flow, and further allows researchers to vary fuel temperatures.

He stated that the different machines that cost over P500 000 measures energy content, and if the fuel was compliant with international standards.

Professor Gandure said they were happy with the partnership because it ensured that they complete the analysis.

He further noted that their labs were fully furnished enabling them to conduct research.

The tour ended with a visit to the Department of Forestry and Range Resources where JICA also assists in the project for enhancing the national forest monitoring system for the promotion of sustainable natural resource management in Botswana.

To that effect JICA donated equipment from GPS cameras with coordinates, tape measures, transponders, and biodiversity cameras among others.

The project monitors the state of the forest in Botswana and accurately updates them through the forest regular monitoring system.

Source: BOPA

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