The status of used vegetable oil (UVO) biodiesel production in south Africa

Charles Mbohwa, Alexander Mudiwakure

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This paper discusses the status of used oil derived biodiesel production in South African. It highlights the positives and shortcomings of the technology used and identifies the potential for improvement. All known South African used oil biodiesel producers were targeted. The response rate was 40% out of 200 producers. Technology used was benchmarked with established advanced biodiesel producing countries such as Germany, Brazil and the USA. Production rate, yield, product quality were the key performance indicators assessed. Results show that biodiesel production in South Africa is still in its infancy and production rates are low ranging from 100litres/day to a maximum 8000litres/day. Most plants are locally manufactured. Imports from India, China and Australia make up the remainder. Batch reactors are favoured over continuous reactors because of low acquisition cost, simple design and ease of operation. They allow for phase to phase quality control. This has resulted in low volume production militating against economies of scale. Yields, at up to 94% are acceptable and competitive. The products are contaminated with methanol and free fatty acids. The standards set for biodiesel quality were found to be restrictive and prohibitive but prospects for sustainable production are excellent.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the World Congress on Engineering 2013, WCE 2013
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Event2013 World Congress on Engineering, WCE 2013 - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 Jul 20135 Jul 2013

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Engineering and Computer Science
Volume1 LNECS
ISSN (Print)2078-0958


Conference2013 World Congress on Engineering, WCE 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Biodiesel production technology in south africa
  • Biodiesel technology benchmarking
  • Used oil-derived biodiesel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)


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