Multifunctional platforms

The multifunctional platform is a simple diesel generator that boasts a low cost  range of uses such as providing electricity for refrigeration, lighting, and other appliances, pumping water, crushing seeds and grinding cereals. It is hoped that in the future, liquid biofuel or ppo from Jatropha can be used in lieu of diesel. So far all the MFP’s I have seen are mainly running on diesel by the lack of Jatropha oil. The typical omission in the MFP projects is that the promotion of planting Jatropha is far behind schedule, due to limits in funds and reluctant farmers. For farmers the Jatropha only is a secondary crop and as long as they are not convinced that there is a good market for the seed or the oil, they are not investing time and money. In any MFP system the integration of Jatropha within existing farming systems should have the highest priority.

  1. Multi Functional Platforms in Mali (info from GENI)

MFP Malibiocarburant

Dissemination of the multifunctional platforms as been thoroughly multilateral- funding comes from various NGOs (Non government organizations), international organizations, and private investors. Acquisition of a platform is on a voluntary basis- a group of women from a village must create a formal organization to request and purchase a generator (which is subsidized 40-50%). Local artisans are in charge of installation, maintenance and repair of the platforms, each decentralized unit being easy and cheap to construct. Finally, the project is overseen and supported by the Malian government, Mali Folk Center (MFC Nyeeta), as well as local authorities. The platforms have proven to be astounding for rural Malian women.

The platform frees up two to six hours of a rural Malian women’s day by eliminating a portion of the drudgery associated with a lack of energy use. It also provides income-generating opportunities, raising owners’ annual incomes by US$40 to US$100, and allows them to pursue other endeavors, such as education or other activities. Multifunctional platforms have actually succeeded in elevating women’s social status. One Malian woman called the machine a “silent daughter-in-law” in reference to the duties it performs. The success of multifunctional platforms in Mali highlights the interdependency of all aspects of development and modern energy consumption. Women who own and manage a multifunctional platform machine have higher incomes, economic independence, more time for education, and ultimately a higher social status and a higher quality of life.

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Mali Biocarburant runs a modern oil processing unit at Koulikoro, where various oil seeds can be processed.

The village of Garalo has a new electricity factory supposed to run on jatropha oil but by its absence mainly on diesel

2. Multi Functional platforms in Tanzania. (Energy Service Platform (ESP) (formerly MFP)

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TaTEDO promotes Energy Service Platform (ESP) for production of electricity and powering different machines for a number of energy applications such as battery charging, grain milling, de-husking and seed pressing. The ESPs were introduced in Tanzania in late 2006 through a GAP Fund Pilot project, which was conducted in Dar es Salaam and Arusha regions. Until December 2007, three ESPs had already been installed at TaTEDO Sustainable Energy and Development Centre (SEDC) and in Engaruka and Leguruki villages.  In each village, three people have been trained on how to install, operate and maintain this machine and the entrepreneurs have been trained for successful running of the ESP business. Also since the ESP run on the locally available Jatropha oil, farmers have been sensitized to cultivate Jatropha as a way of fueling ESPs and income generation. TaTEDO is now planning to facilitate installation of more ESPs in off grid areas where there are potential for Jatropha production through local.

Lately I was informed that due to the lack of Jatropha oil, Tatedo is shifting in the direction of energy supply,provided by solar panels which means that there will be hardly any input from the local farmers.

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