Introducing ethanol based biodiesel production  in Mali

In June 2010, Mali biocarburant with the support of FACT Foundation started a project that combines innovative small-scale ethanol drying with biodiesel production. The project aims to produce FAEE at the MBSA production facility in Koulikoro, using anhydrous ethanol produced in Mali. For the trans-esteferication process, methanol is used to produce a Fatty Acid Methyl Ester (FAME), however, also ethanol could be used to produce FAEE. This ethanol is much cheaper and is of biological origin, and thus "greener" than the (fossil) methanol. However, the locally available ethanol still contains some 4% of water, and needs to be upgraded to at least 99.5% purity before it can be used for biodiesel production. The objective of the project is the installation of a small scale ethanol drying unit,  and the use of this ethanol for the production of FAEE (Fatty Acid Ethyl Esters).

MBSA is member of a research consortium led by the Forest & Landscape Denmark part of University of Copenhagen and funded by the DANIDA Research Council (Ministry of Foreign Affairs Denmark). The project, started on January 2009, has as main objectives the exploration, evaluation, conservation, sustainable production and utilization of genetic resources of Jatropha curcas for oil production in Mali and screening of possible alternative species for the same purpose. The improved Jatropha varieties may increase the yield from 1.5 to 2.5 ton/ha with higher oil yield per ton, thus making it a more profitable crop for farmers and for commercial transformation of oil into biodiesel.

Domestication of Jatropha curcas for oil production on smallholder farms in the Sudano-Sahelian region with focus on Mali, 2009-2013

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The government of Mali has launched a presidential Initiative to increase maize production throughout the country. CIMMYT has developed open pollinated drought tolerant maize and striga resistant “early” and “extra early” varieties that have produced very positive results on experiment stations and farmer fields in Mali (yields of 4.23 – 4.76 ton/ha). This research seeks to evaluate the potential of intercropping Jatropha with these new drought tolerant maize varieties in order to provide an improved and sustainable farming system. The research will also assess the increase of farmers’ incomes (cost/benefit analysis) through the adoption of this system and the benefits regarding food security and agricultural risks reduction. Research activity is carried out by MBSA with the sponsorship of US-AID and the expertise of Dr. Ntji Coulibaly (Maize agronomist, Institute d’Economie Rurale) and Dr. Jeremy Foltz (Professor of Agricultural & Applied Economics at UW-Madison).

Building Smallholder Farmer Incomes and Safety Nets in Mali with Jatropha Curcas and Drought Tolerant Maize


MBSA relies in a network of over 4000 farmers producing Jatropha in Mali and Burkina Faso. These farmers can be benefited from schemes that permit access to the international carbon market and expertise on its management. Research is needed to tailor these schemes for MBSA farmers and develop strategies for its capitalization. Initiatives to improve production capacity and reduction of barriers for Jatropha adoption funded with such a schemes should be also evaluated

Development of pro-poor carbon offsets schemes


Sustainable Agronomic Management Practices

Competitive biofuel production

New areas of work

We are constantly looking for partners in new exciting areas such as:

Development of animal feed from Jatropha press cake at industial and small producer level (ie. detoxification of Jatropha press cake)

Valorisation of press cake through biogas and compost production

Change of trans-esterification process from methanol to ethanol

Agronomic techniques for small producers (low cost irrigation and water pumping, Jatropha use to improve  production systems of low margin crops such as millet and sorghum)

Pro-poor benefits in our production chain