Bio Energy Resource Limited (BERL) will next month launch a $2 million (K5 billion) factory in Malawiâ€™s capital, Lilongwe, which will be producing bio-fuel from jathropha seeds.
BERL public relations and sustainability manager Abbie Chittock said the factory has one press, but they plan to increase the number to nine.
â€œCurrently, we have installed three infiltration channels so that as we go along, we fix two more,â€ said Chittock.
She said the press has the potential to process 800 kilogrammes of nuts per hour.
â€œIf you calculate, it translates to 20 tonnes in a day. It takes four kilogrammes of jathropha nuts to produce one litre of oil. This means in a day, we will be processing huge volumes of oil,â€ said Chittock.
She said BERL is in a contract arrangement with around 25 000 smallholder farmers who are growing the crop.
â€œMost farmers grow jathropha trees along the boundaries of their gardens and as such, the crop will not interfere with others.
â€œSince Escom electricity is not reliable, we have a standby generator which is running on fossil diesel and jathropha oil,â€ he said.