Saturday August 18, 2012
Campaigning for the use of biodiesel
WHEN Vinesh Sinha started driving his father’s car after obtaining his driving licence at 17, one thing that bothered him was the clouds of black fumes emitted by the diesel-fuelled car.
He then learned about biodiesel and its usage via the Internet before leaving to study in the UK.
During his stay in the UK, he learned more about biodiesel, a commonly used fuel in Europe.
Eight months later, he decided to give up on his studies and return to Malaysia.
He set up a lab at home, and after many experiments, he finally obtained positive results.
He then filled his car with his homemade biodiesel.
“Whether it would be more cost efficient was not the main focus.
“What was more important is the fact that my car does not produce black fumes and its performance is better, quieter and offers more mileage,” the 24-year-old said.
His friend then suggested that he supply the biodiesel to his father. It was then he thought of turning his experiments into a business.
Making it into business is secondary Vinesh says. His main aim is to spread awareness about environmental conservation.
With that in mind, he set up his company FatHopes Energy Sdn Bhd in 2010.
His foray into entrepreneurship was not a walk in the park.
Since he started this business, his company has been facing the problem of not being able to buy used oil at a decent price.
The high cost of purchasing used cooking oil led to higher production costs.
Furthermore, biodiesel prices are uncertain, further deterring consumers.
He lamented that used cooking oil is actually just trash, but some unscrupulous parties are acquiring it at a high price. It is then processed and sold off at a higher price.
“The impact of used cooking oil is not a priority for most F&B outlets, food manufacturing and food processing industries.
“Some would rather sell the oil to unscrupulous cooking oil manufacturers who offer a higher price.
“For us in the green industry, we are unable to do so, so we lose out,” he said.
According to Vinesh, his company is currently processing used cooking oil from McDonald’s and other restaurants. The amount collected is actually just a mere 10% (of the amount that could be collected) in the Klang Valley.
“The cost for developing, buying and processing used cooking oil is 80% and we only get a profit of 20%.
“Furthermore, this green industry is not getting as much support or financial help from the government as it could,” he said.
Vinesh hopes companies can priorities environmental conservation and the public’s health, and stop selling the oil to illegal manufacturers.
“This not only prevents the public from consuming such oil, it helps the development of biodiesel and reduces the impact on the environment,” he said.
FatHopes has initiated environmental education activities and helped three universities to establish research centres. He hopes this will bring change to society and country’s environment.
In an effort to increase public awareness about used cooking oil, he started the “Environment Assessment Savvy Youths (Easy) Inter-School Used Cooking Oil Collection” programme.
Twenty two collection units have been set up in schools and colleges in the Klang Valley. Studenst and parents simply need to collect used cooking oil, take it to a unit and swipe their MyKad to record their contribution to redeem gifts.
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