Ethan Arpi

That Catfish Sure Tastes Good

catfishThis Saturday the New York Times jumped on the biodiesel bandwagon, publishing this article on Jim Nornman and his experience driving a car powered by vegetable oil.? Here at Nextbillion, we have covered biodiesel and its use in the developing world on two separate occasions?in Rwanda’s prisons and in South Africa’s automobiles.? Now I would like to cover it once more.? After doing a few quick google searches, I discovered several news stories on a Vietnamese company doing some interesting business.? The company is Agifish, a catfish processor in the Mekong Delta, which recently announced that it would begin producing biodiesel from left over catfish guts.

For some time now
, Agfish has been using the fat from catfish to power the pumps at its fish farms in this southern region of Vietnam.? The company’s original business model focused on producing an array of culinary delights, like sweet and sour catfish and breaded filets of catfish.? When the company learned that it could cut costs by reusing catfish scraps, it invested in a biofuel digester which uses bacteria to break down organic waste into methane.

However, it wasn?t until recently that the company realized that it could actually turn a profit by producing and selling fuel made from catfish scraps.? According to Nguyen Dinh Huan, the Deputy Director of Agfish, the company has sent catfish fuel samples to laboratories in Ho Chi Minh City, where government officials have inspected the product.Approval has been granted, reports The Australian Broadcasting Company, and Agifish has begun drawing up plans for its state-of-the-art plant in the Mekong Delta.?? By next year, when construction of the plant is finished, Agifish estimates that it will produce 10 million liters of fuel per year.? Not bad, considering that Agifish recently discarded catfish waste.