Power cuts have become a part of Egyptians’ daily life as the power crisis worsens due to shortages of diesel, which is used to run power plants.
To produce an alternative form of fuel and promote the culture of recycling resources, Green Pan, a Cairo-based initiative, converts used vegetable oil to Biodiesel. The initiative also creates other organic products, including soap and glycerine.
The daily domestic consumption of diesel in Egypt is approximately 37,000 tonnes, according to official spokesperson for the Ministry of Petroleum Hamdy Abdel Aziz. The government spending on petroleum subsidies in the fiscal year (FY)2014/2015 is EGP 100bn.
The initiative, launched in August by the founders of Tagadod, a start-up working with renewable energy, produces up to 2 tonnes of biodiesel daily, said Ahmed Refaat, one of the co-founders. The produced fuel is certified from the Egyptian Chemistry Administration and meets the international standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials.
Green Pan collects used vegetable oil from restaurants, hotels and houses. More than 400 families from various backgrounds have participated in the initiative’s oil collection campaigns and donated their used oil, Refaat said.
“If we depend on those who sell the used oil from hotels, the price will be more than EGP 7,” said Refaat. “The price now is close to that of the subsidised diesel.”
In addition to oil collecting campaigns, Green Pan organises campaigns to raise awareness about efficient management of oil waste. The recycling process creates value for the “useless harmful” waste, he said.
“Used oil clogs pipes,” he said. “Since we don’t have a proper disposal network, oil waste usually ends up in the Nile and contaminates drinking water.”