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Best Practices voor een duurzame toekomst
08 februari 2008

Kia Netherlands supports biodiesel production in Mali

Each year Kia Netherlands sells some 15,000 to 17,500 cars. Now every Kia buyer will be able to log in to a protected website, calculate the greenhouse gas emission of his of her specific vehicle according to model and mileage and pay on line. The smallest model (Kia Picanto) costs 15 euro a year on average, the biggest (Sorrento) 65 euro.

The money thus collected is transferred to Trees for Travel, a Dutch a charity specialising in forestry projects in developing countries. Among other projects Trees for Travel plants and manages jatropha hedges in Mali. Growing plants absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and Trees for Travel is able to sell this absorption as carbon credits. As Trees for Travel knows how much carbon dioxide an average jatropha plant needs to grow, it can calculate the total amount of jatropha plants needed to compensate for the Dutch Kia cars. This year, Kia Netherlands has financed 400,000 euro to buy 600,000 shrubs of jatropha in Mali. Kia Netherlands’ after sales manager Frank Doorenbos: “Next year we expect Trees for Travel to be able to buy an additional 1.5 million plants. We need dedicated costumers willing to compensate for their real mileage, so the programme is on a voluntary base.”

Seeds of jatropha contain up to 40 percent oil, suitable for the production of biodiesel. This can serve as a supplementary income for farmers and reduces Mali’s dependence on expensive imports of fossil fuels. Cultivating and processing the seeds has no negative impact either on the regular food crops or the environment as Jatropha is planted in hedges. Doorenbos: “Plantations of jatropha are too expensive, as the nuts have to be harvested manually. Planted as hedges, jatropha protects cultivations against grazing animals because it is toxic, or as intercropping, to prevent the soils from erosion, a farmer can yield the nuts when he is ready with the millet and sorghum.” The hardy jatropha is resistant to drought and pests.

The oil is pressed locally and collected and processed by Mali Biocarburant SA, the biodiesel production facility in Koulikouro. The company is financed by the government of the Netherlands, the Royal Dutch Tropical Institute, the pension fund of the Dutch Railway company and private companies. The local farmers’ union is one of the shareholders.

The biodiesel is distributed locally. Kia: “This means that hundreds of thousands of litres of oil can be saved on a yearly basis that would otherwise have to be imported. This is good for the development of Mali and also for the climate because less fossil oil means fewer CO2 emissions.”P+ webtip:Kia goes sustainable