The croton tree, indigenous to East Africa, produces an inedible walnut sized nut that has never served much purpose beyond firewood until now as it turns out that the croton nut can power diesel engines without any additional processing. Possibly making it one of Africa’s most important sources of biofuel.
“In the early 2000’s researchers discovered that the oil found in the nut of the croton megalocarpus tree could be a direct replacement for diesel fuel in certain engines, and a strong feedstock for biodiesel in others. This unearthed a sustainable source of biofuel from an inedible nut that had never had economic value.”
EFK Group (Eco Fuels Kenya), the worlds first and only croton nut processing company, was founded In 2012 by Alan Paul, an engineer and veteran entrepreneur. They produce biofuel, animal feed and organic fertilizer from the nut of the croton tree.
“As we refined the oil production process, we learned that the shells of the croton nuts are a strong source of organic nitrogen, perfect for fertiliser, and the seedcake from the biofuel production has high protein levels perfect for use in commercial animal feeds. Now, as the world’s first and only croton nut manufacturer, we’re scaling the production of our organic biofuel, animal feed, and fertiliser to fill the needs of a rapidly growing market in East Africa.” EFK Group.
From pre-existing trees, Kenya produces more croton each year than 150,000 farmers produce coffee for export.
Not only is it very easy to come by, croton trees produce nuts for six months each year. Nuts fall to the ground when they are mature ensuring a simple, sustainable harvest. Farmer groups work together to aggregate local supply, which EFK then purchases for $1 per kilo; shifting this wasted resource into a dependable cash crop.
The bio-diesel EFK produces is sold for $1 per litre, that is 15 percent cheaper than diesel and burns cleaner.
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