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Feasibility Study for a Castor oil Extraction Plant in South Africa

Authors: Mohamed Belaid, Edison Muzenda, Getrude Mitilene, Mansoor Mollagee


A feasibility study for the design and construction of a pilot plant for the extraction of castor oil in South Africa was conducted. The study emphasized the four critical aspects of project feasibility analysis, namely technical, financial, market and managerial aspects. The technical aspect involved research on existing oil extraction technologies, namely: mechanical pressing and solvent extraction, as well as assessment of the proposed production site for both short and long term viability of the project. The site is on the outskirts of Nkomazi village in the Mpumalanga province, where connections for water and electricity are currently underway, potential raw material supply proves to be reliable since the province is known for its commercial farming. The managerial aspect was evaluated based on the fact that the current producer of castor oil will be fully involved in the project while receiving training and technical assistance from Sasol Technology, the TSC and SEDA. Market and financial aspects were evaluated and the project was considered financially viable with a Net Present Value (NPV) of R2 731 687 and an Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of 18% at an annual interest rate of 10.5%. The payback time is 6years for analysis over the first 10 years with a net income of R1 971 000 in the first year. The project was thus found to be feasible with high chance of success while contributing to socio-economic development. It was recommended for lab tests to be conducted to establish process kinetics that would be used in the initial design of the plant.

Keywords: project feasibility, net present value, solvent extraction, Mechanical pressing, Oilextraction

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