Ivory Coast research team converts rubber tree seed oil to biodiesel in BioPro 190


January 15, 2024

The number of feedstock oils available to convert to biodiesel around the globe continues to grow.  One of Springboard’s customers in the Ivory Coast is currently using a BioPro 190 to convert Rubber tree seed oil into a clean-burning biodiesel fuel.  This effort is notable because the oil would otherwise go to waste; It is inedible and indigenous to Cote D’Ivoire. Our contact there is making this fuel and testing it to run in local buses in Abidjan, thereby diversifying the city's fuel supply while significantly reducing carbon emissions.

Rubber trees grow abundantly in the Ivory Coast and the rubber that's harvested is the country's fourth most common export, generating $1.72 Billion USD inrevenue in2021 ( https://oec.world/en/profile/country/civand ). The history of Rubber trees and rubber production in Cote D'Ivoire affords a fascinating historical snapshot; after France was defeated by the Vietnamese at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954, France’s control of much of its land holdings in Indochina collapsed.  Rubber trees were thereafter planted in larger numbers in Cote D'Ivoire where France maintained colonial control. Tire Co. Micheline, amongst others, needed rubber for car tires.

Until recently, no one had - that we know of- actively engaged in pursuing this other possible revenue stream.  Converting rubber seed oil can be challenging because it has a high free fatty acid content, however, our customers are overcoming this challenge today using versatile equipment to make better fuel.