Biodiesel in Afghanistan

Private contractors working for the US Military execute projects well, or they go home. Fluor International was tasked by the US Military (May, 2015) to convert used cooking oil from Bagram Airbase into biodiesel fuel.  Fluor bought one automated system from Springboard Biodiesel, The BioPro™ 380EX and SpringPro™ T76, and the results are in: Fluor processed 6087 gallons in their first 28 days for a total production cost of less than 1/10th the cost of diesel.  Tax payers can also rejoice in the environmental advantages of running a fuel that emits 90% less CO2 and 50% less soot in US military engines.


Fluor Senior Mechanic, Kenneth Kiefer, wrote to us on July 28, 2015:  "The biodiesel processor is still the highlight in our operation which draws the most attention. We are currently beginning the 174th batch, and when asked about the springboard equipment, I do point out the use it endures 24/7 around the clock with downtime only related to cleaning a few hours a week. I have also mentioned my appreciation to your customer service support; trust me, not all companies are one in the same in comparison when it comes to requesting parts or technical information. I am of the opinion that a good relationship with the manufacturer and end user is important for the life of the equipment. Plus, it's good reflection on the manufacturer and user when there is very little downtime on the equipment." 


On September 2, 2015, Country Environmental Director, Christopher Waechter, sent us this report: "All is going extremely well with the Biodiesel conversion here at Bagram. We've actually started shipping UCO from 2 small bases back to Bagram. If we had a longer anticipated mission we'd pull another unit over and capture all the cooking oil from our base locations.  We have now processed a total of 26,065 gallons of UCO (260 batches). We're averaging about 2.75 batches every 24 hours."


For those counting, that's 275 gallons per day and they've saved $260,000 since May (after 4 months of production!)


Total carbon kept out of the Afghanistan atmosphere: 5,231,241 lbs or 2,615 tons.


The equipment cost them $28,000! 


Here's a story from Biodiesel Magazine:



Excerpts from Fluor's analysis of their first 28 days of production:

Above is an analysis of biodiesel made from used cooking oil.

But did you know that biodiesel can be made from a long list of seed crop oils including poppy-seed and safflower?

A recent NPR report (September 10, 2015) indicates that opium production in Afghanistan doubled since 2001. With those facts in mind, more idealistic readers might like to peruse the following white paper that outlines the economic advantages of paying poppy farmers to plant safflower and turn the crop into biodiesel.  Farmers would make more money.  Fuel costs would be reduced and less heroin would find its way into Europe and the US.